Yarra Corporation has taken a controlling shareholding in the Darwin-based South East Asian Livestock Services (SEALS), promising to develop Asian market opportunities, particularly in China.
As Australian livestock exporters look to Chinese market opportunities, testing the water with two live beef cattle shipments this year, Singapore-based Yarra Corp has promised to inject new capital to develop the SEALS business.
SEALS was founded 21 years ago by Top End livestock export pioneers John Kaus, based in Asia, and his northern Australian partner, Sid Parker, who died in 2014.
SEALS management team and trading activities will continue under the same name.
No details of the size of Yarra’s majority stake or the transaction price have been released.
Yarra is enabling us to continue servicing our longer-term customer base while developing new business opportunities within north Asia
SEALS has a longstanding clientele based in South East Asia and expects to capitalise on Yarra Corp’s distribution networks in China, and elsewhere in Asia.
Yarra already sources meat and other food commodities in Australia, servicing the Asian hospitality sector and food processors, and also has its own processing facility in China.
SEALS chairman, Mr Kaus, said the new financial backing and Yarra’s market contacts would boost the live exporter’s buying power and spread risks associated with market fluctuations and regulatory uncertainties in the trade.
The company was a “great fit in the Yarra Corp’s portfolio of companies”.
“Yarra is enabling us to continue servicing our longer-term customer base while developing new business opportunities within north Asia,” he said.
“SEALS has an extremely loyal client base with some dating back to our formation in the 1990s.
“We have structured the deal to ensure our long-term clientele will benefit from the change, while giving us the ability to extend our services into new regions.”
We have always admired John’s and his team’s dedication, and are excited to be working alongside SEALS in this new phase
Yarra Corp chief executive, Bradley Leahey, felt the partnership also brought his company closer to establishing a fully integrated supply chain, with better cost control and quality assurance when providing for its customer base in China.
“Our vision is to be a one-stop shop, where we can provide our customers with the freshest products from paddock to plate, and the most value-for-money produce directly from Australia,” he said.
“We have always admired John’s and his team’s dedication, and are excited to be working alongside SEALS in this new phase.”
SEALS, which exports slaughter and breeder beef and dairy cattle from Townsville, Mourilyan, Weipa, Karumba, Darwin, Broome, Wyndham, Port Hedland, and Geraldton, and occasionally Fremantle or Portland, has supplied more than 400,000 cattle to South East Asian buyers in the past decade.
Mr Kaus was awarded Australian livestock export industry Lifetime Achiever status in 2014.