AUSTRALIA – Montague, a stalwart in the Australian fresh produce industry, has announced the loss of its esteemed founder, William (Bill) Montague on February 6th.
Bill Montague’s legacy is marked by a pioneering spirit that transformed a modest beginning into a leading fresh produce company.
Establishing the company in 1948, Montague planted the first orchard in Narre Warren North, Victoria, in 1950.
Early on, the focus was on supplying fruits to hospitals in and around Melbourne, laying the foundation for a journey marked by dedication and perseverance.
As the business flourished, Bill Montague strategically acquired orchards and spearheaded the construction of cold storage facilities.
Under his visionary leadership, Montague evolved into one of Australia’s foremost fresh produce companies, remaining within the Montague family for three generations.
In 2007, in recognition of his invaluable contributions to the fruit industry, Bill Montague was honored with the Order of Australia Medal.
“Bill had an unwavering passion for quality fruit production. A keen Collingwood supporter and self-proclaimed best fisherman in the Bay,” stated the company reflecting on his legacy.
“Bill remained working with continued enthusiasm for the fresh produce industry before passing the business down to Ray, Tim, Hamish, and Scott Montague who hold the same passion for fresh, quality produce. He will be dearly missed.”
Strategic partnership and merger with Pomona valley
Further signaling the company’s growth and success, Montague, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (Ontario Teachers’) and its Australian agriculture subsidiary, AustOn Corporation (AustOn), unveiled a strategic partnership with the Australian grower-packer-marketer in November last year.
As a pivotal aspect of this collaboration, Pomona Valley, a subsidiary of Ontario Teachers’, is poised to acquire a majority equity interest in Montague.
Scott Montague, embodying the family’s commitment, will retain ownership, playing a crucial role as general manager in the merged operations of Pomona Valley and Montague.
Scott Montague, Managing Director of Montague, expressed optimism about the partnership, stating, “The partnership with AustOn and the merger with Pomona Valley signal the next exciting stage in the growth of Montague.”
“The financial backing of a global investor in agriculture opens a range of possibilities that both businesses have been keen to explore.”
This strategic alignment not only underscores the shared commitment to innovation and growth but also positions Montague for new opportunities in the dynamic landscape of the fresh produce industry.
As Montague navigates this transformative juncture, the memory of its visionary founder, Bill Montague, will undoubtedly continue to inspire the legacy he built over seven decades ago.
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