Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


A quick look around the traps at what's been happening and what some of the players are up to in agribusiness.


JBS abattoirs close

Australia's largest beef processing plant at Dinmore in southern Queensland is set to close for at least two weeks on August 24 because of the slowdown in cattle availability.

Owner, JBS Australia, has also shut its Brooklyn abattoir in Victoria indefinitely due to COVID-19 related restrictions.

The Dinmore shutdown will be the first extended mid-year closure since 2014 and follows the company cutting back processing activity to about 50 per cent in May.

At full capacity the big abattoir can process almost 3500 head a day.


Buderim gets better offer

Listed ginger and macadamia processing business Buderim Group looks set to accept a $13 million offer for its Queensland and Fijian ginger operations, beating an earlier bid by one of its major shareholders.

The fresh bid is from Queensland's Himstedt family which built the Queen Fine Foods brand between 1975 and 2015, including Queen's food colourings, baking ingredients and vanilla essences.

Buderim, which began as the Ginger Growers Co-operative in 1941, is selling its famous ginger factory and museum at Yandina on the state's Sunshine Coast to reduce its debt load and focus on macadamia production and processing health protein products.

The Himstedt family was one of several bidders to emerge after the $8.3m offer from 16 per cent shareholder, George Vasili's Global Foods Group.

The sale is expected to be finalised by late September and according to Buderim chairman Guy Cowan will deliver optimum shareholder value and see a renowned food business family further build on the ginger division's success.

Buderim Group is now a major ginger producer and marketer of confectionery ginger worldwide, but shareholders were told in June it needed "significant capital investment to continue its proud and long history".

Chief executive officer Andrew Bond will move with the ginger division after the sale, but keeps his ties with the Buderim Group as a board director.


A2 finds new boss

A2 Milk Company has chosen former underwear boss David Bortolussi as its new managing director, replacing interim chief executive officer Geoffrey Babidge early next year.

Mr Babidge, who previously held the role, returned to A2 last December, after his former replacement Jayne Hrdlicka suddenly departed.

Mr Bortolussi (pictured), who has been group president for HanesBrands international innerwear will start at A2 on a $1.7 million salary, including superannuation.

He is the former CEO of Pacific Brands, which was bought by Hanes in 2016, after which his role expanded to cover Australasia and then its international innerwear operations outside of the Americas.

He has also worked with Foster's Group as chief strategy officer responsible for corporate strategy and, business development.

A2 Milk chairman David Hearn said the company was going through continued strong growth in dynamic markets and Mr Bortolussi's skillset and comprehensive strategic and operational experience would serve the company well.


VFF tests CEO options

The Victorian Farmers Federation has begun advertising for the position of Chief Executive Officer in the lead up to Stephen Sheridan's contract expiring in December.

"We hope Stephen will submit an expression of interest for the CEO role," said VFF president David Jochinke.

He said it was appropriate and good corporate governance to "test the market".

Stephen has done an outstanding job in managing the affairs of the VFF for nearly three years.

"He has worked with the board on a range of issues including strategic considerations and implications as we look to adapt and grow the VFF as an organisation," Mr Jochinke said.

He would continue as CEO during the EOI period continuing responsibility for significant reform initiatives and milestones.


Dairy board nominees

Dairy Australia has announced the three nominees standing for election to fill board vacancies at its annual general meeting in November.

The positions are for two milk producer roles and an agribusiness, innovation and change management expert.

Queensland dairy farmer Paul Roderick is standing for election for the first time and Victorian farmer and current director Tania Luckin is standing for re-election to a second term.

Mr Roderick, from Harrisville, was a director with Premium Milk for 11 years and is a member of the Australian Dairy Conference Board.

Ms Luckin, from Heywood, in South West Victoria has operated dairy enterprises for 23 years and is a Bonlac Supply Company director and board member of the WestVic Dairy Regional Development Program.

Roseanne Healy, standing for her second term, is deputy chair of Grains Research and Development Corporation, a Director of Airborne Research Australia Limited and Food Manufacturing and Services and is a former Director of AgriFutures Australia.


Coles nurtures recyclers

A plan to make fence posts from recycled household and agricultural plastic is one of 12 innovative projects sharing almost $3 million from Coles Nurture Fund.

The supermarket group is providing grants to 12 small and medium sized businesses which are instigating improved sustainability plans, rebuilding after bushfires and producing new food and beverage lines.

Recycling manufacturer Plastic Forests at Albury NSW scored $300,000 to help manufacture fence posts from recycled plastic, providing an end-to-end solution for sileage wrap and soft recycled plastic bags.

Two farming families near Tumbarumba in southern NSW impacted by bushfires will also receive grants to re-build fencing using Plastic Forests' posts.

Coles Group's chief executive officer Steven Cain the grants brought the Coles Nurture Fund's total grant allocations to $24m.

Other winners included Mount Warning Beverage Company in NSW's Tweed Valley; Black River Produce, Townsville, Queensland; Braebrook Pastoral, Willaura, Victoria; Beechworth Honey, Corowa, NSW; the Olsen family in Victoria's Gippsland, and Harvey Citrus in Western Australia.


Namoi restructure drags on

Joint venture restructure talks which began in April between Namoi Cotton and its international marketing partner Louis Dreyfus Company are continuing.

Namoi told the Australian Security Exchange the discussions were continuing in line with a restructure terms sheet released in May and shareholders would be advised when the terms had been completed by both parties.

The marketing business restructure will also require regulatory approvals and any necessary third party consents.

  • Start the day with all the big news in agriculture! Sign up below to receive our daily Farmonline newsletter.

From the front page

Sponsored by