Industry welcomes Forrest's buy

08 May, 2014 02:00 AM
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Andrew Forrest has bought Harvey Beef in a surprise deal announced last Friday.
This is an excellent result not just for Harvey Beef, but for our suppliers and distributors
Andrew Forrest has bought Harvey Beef in a surprise deal announced last Friday.

WA'S beef industry has welcomed the news that Andrew Forrest is the new owner of Harvey Beef.

The shock announcement that Mr Forrest's Minderoo Group had bought the South West abattoir came last Friday afternoon.

WA's biggest abattoir had been the centre of speculation for many months, with WA company Craig Mostyn Group tipped as a likely buyer.

There was also reported interest from Japanese and Chinese investors.

But Mr Forrest's announcement came from left field, and surprised many in the industry.

Mr Forrest said the purchase signalled his strong belief in the future of Australia's agricultural industry.

"Harvey Beef has been an iconic brand for almost a century and I am delighted to work with its team to ensure Harvey Beef makes a significant and growing contribution to the State's economy, and Australia's agricultural industry for the next century," Mr Forrest said.

"Harvey Beef is WA's only accredited beef exporter to China.

"Following detailed discussions with the Chinese leadership, we are determined to ensure the Australian agricultural industry's future in China is just as bright as our mining future.

"We hope this acquisition will send a strong message of confidence in the future of the industry, and to provide confidence to increase supply and make Australia the supplier of choice to meet Asia's long-term food security requirements."

Minderoo Group says it will further invest in upgrading the Harvey Beef facilities to increase capacity in order to meet growing domestic and international demand for premium WA grass and grainfed beef.

Since the announcement on Friday, representatives from Minderoo Group have visited Harvey Beef and met with current employees.

Harvey Beef chief executive officer Michael Hughes said the processor was delighted Minderoo had acquired Harvey Beef and would continue to invest in the highest quality beef processing.

"We are a proud WA brand and are committed to getting on with the job to supply Australians and the emerging markets of the world with the best beef produce," Mr Hughes said.

"This is an excellent result not just for Harvey Beef, but for our suppliers and distributors all over Australia.

"The vision Mr Forrest has demonstrated will certainly be a bright and exciting future for Australia's agricultural industry."

The outgoing Harvey Beef chairman John Nicholls said former major shareholder Pacific Alliance Group was pleased the Minderoo Group had bought Harvey Beef.

The acquisition is testament to Mr Forrest's vision of expanding Australia's agricultural trade into emerging markets and securing Australia as the pre-eminent secure, reliable, high-quality food supplier in the region.

WAFarmers Meat Council president Jeff Murray said it was positive news.

"The news is better than I could have hoped for," Mr Murray said.

"We have more of a chance with local ownership, than with anyone else.

"Local ownership is definitely a positive and it can only be a positive step for our industry."

Looking to the future, Mr Murray said there should be encouraging outcomes.

"To get the abattoir on an even footing and certainly get it killing at a reasonable number can only be a help for the industry," he said.

"I look forward to working with them, because there should be some good outcomes."

Pastoralists and Graziers Association Western Sheep and Beef Producers Committee chairman Digby Stretch also welcomed the news that a local investor had bought the abattoir.

"There is nothing wrong with foreign investment, but it gives you a warm feeling when a local puts his money into something like this," Mr Stretch said.

"It's exciting to see local investment and enthusiasm in the industry.

"It will put a spring in everyone's step, knowing that not only do we think it's a good place to be, but Andrew Forrest thinks it's a good place to invest money.''

Mr Stretch said he was excited about the future of new markets and opening up markets further.

"We look forward to furthering the linkages that he has with China," he said.

"Its going to be exciting but difficult to open up (that market), but we look forward to his experience there."

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READER COMMENTS

Top Ender
9/05/2014 7:24:15 AM, on Queensland Country Life

If anyone can get traction with China, Mr Forrest certainly can. Probably one of the best salesmen of his generation.
wtf
9/05/2014 10:03:51 AM, on The Land

we do need that handshaker top ender, but I just hope we do not give it all away. some growth from within would be good

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