LIVE exporter Wellard is back supplying sheep to the Gulf region in the Middle East, after an almost two-year hiatus.
The return was marked by a shipment of 10,000 sheep to Mawashi Oman, in Oman, Saudi Arabia.
Mawashi Oman has developed a 50,000 head capacity feedlot and also operates the two most modern processing plants in Oman.
“Mawashi Oman is a professional, progressive company who want to grow their business,” said Wellard Middle East general manager Tim O’Donnell.
“We are working closely with them, providing technical support on animal husbandry and nutrition, to nurture those growth plans.
“The facilities they have constructed are excellent, demonstrating a real long-term investment in the industry as well as a commitment to animal welfare.”
Mr O’Donnell said the quality of the sheep sourced from Western Australian producers for the shipment was excellent.
“Most of the sheep were Merino first-cross lambs,” he said.
“They have been well received by our customers and fitted their specifications perfectly.
“We are able to utilise the MV Ocean Outback, a mid-sized vessel from the Wellard fleet, to safely and comfortably transport the sheep so they arrived fit and healthy in Oman.”
To cement its return to the Gulf, Wellard has appointed a new Middle East marketing manager, who will be responsible for market development for live sheep and cattle and chilled and frozen lamb and sheepmeat produced by Wellard’s abattoir, Beaufort River Meats.
Wellard also announced on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that one of its major shareholders had bought more shares last week, through a capital raising program.
The Chinese group Fulida Group Holdings will increase its voting shareholding from 19.5 per cent to 24.5pc.
In 2016, Fulida Group partnered with the Perth-based livestock exporter to become a 16.58pc shareholder in the troubled business after a deal with the company’s founder Mauro Balzarini.
Mr Balzarini’s private company WGH Holdings, transferred $66.32 million of its shares to Fulida Group Holdings in an agreement which allowed WGH to repay a $15.8m “separation payment” it owed Wellard by the end of September 2016, plus $500,000 in interest.
It was also announced that one of Australia’s biggest cattle producers, Heytesbury Pty Ltd, had purchased a significant Wellard shareholding.
Heytesbury Limited bought a further $1.7m in shares to help make up the $49.3m share shortfall in the company’s one-for-four entitlement offer to raise $52m last month.
The Holmes à Court’s business group, which includes the Heytesbury Cattle Company, lifted its stake in Wellard to 10.4pc.
Mr Balzarini said Heytesbury Cattle Co had supplied Wellard with cattle for a long time.
“So its management has a strong understanding of the Wellard business and the opportunities available to it,” Mr Balzarini said.
Heytesbury Cattle Co owns six stations spanning 2.5 million hectares across the Northern Territory and eastern Kimberley region of WA.
Among these was Victoria River Downs, which was established in 1883, which runs 160,000 head of cattle.