InvestAustralia | 18 February 2011
Standard Chartered Private Equity Ltd (SCPEL) is to invest $83 million in the purchase of a stake in Australia’s Wellard Group Holdings. The firm is Australia’s biggest livestock exporter. Under its plans, the Standard Chartered Private Equity Ltd is to invest in Wellard via a convertible note.
The investment is to enable Wellard grow the business through a number of identified agribusinesses opportunities throughout the wider Asian region. The investment is also expected to enhance Wellard’s ability to continue building its large, vertically integrated agricultural business to meet the increasing demand for protein from Wellard’s increasingly global operations in established and emerging markets across the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South East Asia and China.
Standard Chartered Private Equity will become a significant minority shareholder in the company post the investment.
Wellard is the world’s largest livestock exporter; the owner of one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced livestock shipping fleets; a significant in-country producer and distributor of livestock; and a large grain grower. It has operations throughout Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia, sub-continental Asia, China, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and South America.
Mauro Balzarini, Wellard Executive Chairman said international demand for protein continued to increase and the resulting opportunities available to Wellard’s business partners, customers and suppliers were extensive. Wellard’s 10 year strategic plan is focused on those opportunities.
Balzarini said Wellard has built a substantial livestock and grain production, trading and distribution business, operating in the Asian, Middle Eastern, European and South American regions. According to him, the firm has grown from a supplier of live sheep to the Middle East and live cattle to Indonesia to a large agricultural trading business with operations across five continents.
Wellard’s expansion will create an even greater range of opportunities for Wellard’s suppliers as the company continues to broaden its focus from live sheep and cattle to beef, sheepmeat and grain, he said. In addition to SCPEL’s equity investment, Standard Chartered Bank has been appointed as Wellard’s global banking provider.
Alastair Morrison, Global Head of Standard Chartered Private Equity commented that world demand for meat and grain, particularly from the high growth Middle East and Asian regions, would continue to grow, and the investment in Wellard would provide SCPEL with exposure to that growth. The Balzarini family will remain the company’s majority shareholder through its current shareholding and a $22 million convertible note issued on the same terms as SCPEL.