Australian Lamb Company sold to Minerva Foods Australia in $400 million deal
The Australian Lamb Company, after 30 years of operation, sold its products to the international company Minerva Foods Australia for $400 million.
One of Colac’s largest employers, the Australian Lamb Company, will soon be owned by Minerva Foods Australia.
The sale will include two Victorian meat processing factories; a facility in the southwestern city of Colac; and a sales, marketing and bones office located in Melbourne.
Minerva Foods Australia is 65% owned by its South American subsidiary and 35% by the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC).
Australian Lamb Company (ALC) General Manager Darren Werrall says this is an exciting time for both companies.
“Combining the wealth of knowledge, experience and contacts that both businesses have will be an excellent foundation for future growth,” he said.
Export options expanded
Minerva South America, a major beef exporter listed on the Brazilian Stock Exchange, sells meat worldwide with investments in countries such as Canada, Brazil, Ukraine, India and the UK.
SALIC is wholly owned by the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund and already has a presence in Australia, including 211,000 hectares of farmland and two mutton processing plants in Western Australia.
Minerva Foods Australia chief executive Ian Mars says ALC employees produce “an incredible product”.
“He is highly respected around the world and we look forward to building on that reputation,” he said.
“Minerva Foods is proud of its commitment to sustainability, the community and its people and looks forward to working with the workforce and the wider community.”
Dry-aged roast lamb
Historically, Saudi Arabia has consumed a large proportion of sheep meat, both mutton and mutton.(ABC Regional: Marty McCarthy)
Industry market analyst Matt Dalglish said the sale would open up export opportunities.
“And Saudi Arabia has historically taken most of its mutton, both mutton and mutton, from Australia, and that share has been declining in recent years.”
“So, with SALIC’s participation in this joint venture, it could increase the volume of mutton back to Saudi Arabia.”
People working in a meat processing plant.
Meat processors have struggled with labor shortages for years.(Landline: Kathleen Calderwood)
Further access to India and Saudi Arabia could also benefit Australian exports of halal certified products, Mr Dalglish said of a sector projected to be worth $7 trillion globally by 2030.
“This is a huge growth opportunity for a sector targeting the halal meat segment,” he said.
“It’s good for the supply chain because it all goes back to the manufacturers.”
Man sitting outside with dog
Matt Dalglish welcomed the sale of ALC.(ABC Rural: Jane McNaughton)
ALC executive management will remain in their current positions in what is expected to be a “seamless transition” with “operations continuing as normal”.
Mr. Dalglish said injecting more money into the company could also help address the labor shortage, and investment in automation offers a potential solution.
“Given how hard it has been to find staff to handle, I would expect them to look to increase the workforce,” he said.
“It’s been a really tough couple of years in terms of high prices in Australia and that meant margins were quite tight.”
“This consolidation is not a surprise.”