So Natural raises funds for functional food venture

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Australian soyfoods maker So Natural Foods Australia said yesterday
that it will raise A$5 million (€2.87m) through the issue of
unlisted convertible notes to fund expansion of its new joint
venture Thorpedo Foods.

The company has a 25 per cent stake in the venture, which was launched earlier this year, and Olympic gold medal swimmer Ian Thorpe owns the remainder. The funds will go towards new product launches, including a range of bottled water, to roll out across Australia next week.

Dubbed 'Thorpedo Advanced Hydration Water', the drink is described as a water with a low glycemic index.

The public company said earlier this year that it would launch three new beverages in Japan and Australia this summer before entering the Chinese market, where Thorpe is a cult figure, by early 2005.

So Natural's​ investment in Thorpedo Foods is part of its strategy to develop a leading position in the functional foods market in Australia. The range is branded 'Food for your Future'.

It also owns Australia's number three canned seafood brand Paramount and is planning to set up another venture with Thorpe, Thorpedo Seafoods, in which it will have a 75 per cent interest.

The 'Thorpedo' products are expected to generate more than $A50 million (€31m) within three years.

So Natural is one of Australia's largest producers of conventional and organic soy foods, and its range of soy milks, soy yoghurts, rice milks and other functional drinks generate around A$25 million each year.

Collaboration with Thorpe also involves product endorsement.

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