Countryman - - FRONT PAGE - Jenne Bram­mer

Aus­tralian-run Har­mony Agri­cul­ture and Food Com­pany will in­crease its sup­ply foot­print in China af­ter the ac­qui­si­tion by its ma­jor­ity share­holder Dalian Hesh­eng Hold­ings of pre­mier food brand Qing­dao Snow­dragon.

The re­la­tion­ship with Snow­dragon will help Har­mony ac­cel­er­ate its plans to build an in­te­grated sup­ply chain for live an­i­mals and frozen and chilled beef within China.

Har­mony chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Meer­wald said the ac­qui­si­tion of Snow­dragon by Dalian Hesh­eng Hold­ings was a de­lib­er­ate strate­gic de­ci­sion which would sup­port ver­ti­cally in­te­grated Chi­nese pro­cess­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion plans.

Snow­dragon built its name as a provider of pre­mium foods in China, but the busi­ness had fallen on hard times, cre­at­ing the op­por­tu­nity for Dalian Hesh­eng’s ac­qui­si­tion.

Mr Meer­wald said the Snow­dragon busi­ness in­cluded a quar­an­tine and feed­lot fa­cil­ity and two abat­toirs in Qing­dao, in the east­ern Shan­dong province on the east coast of China. Th­ese fa­cil­i­ties were in the process of be­ing ESCAS ac­cred­ited. Its meat is dis­trib­uted across main­land China.

“We can de­liver quan­tity and qual­ity, based on the mar­ket de­mand, more ef­fi­ciently through in­te­grat­ing our sup­ply chain, which has been the de­lib­er­ate strat­egy of the busi­ness from the very be­gin­ning,” Mr Meer­wald, who spent 30 years with Wel­lard, said.

“In­stead of be­ing trans­ac­tional based, where we have prod­uct to sell, there is a known en­tity at the other end — a re­lated party — so will work with them to de­velop the sup­ply of live­stock and meat into China, tak­ing into ac­count the needs of the mar­ket.”

Mr Meer­wald said across all chan­nels, Har­mony en­gaged with pro­duc­ers, back­grounders, feed­ers, trans­porters and pro­ces­sors to pro­vide sup­ply chain man­age­ment and data an­a­lyt­ics, help­ing im­prove live­stock per­for­mance and sup­ply chain ef­fi­ciency, in turn sup­port­ing his vi­sion of build­ing end-to-end trans­parency within the com­pany’s sup­ply chain. Har­mony, which formed last year af­ter a $50 mil­lion cash in­jec­tion from Chi­nese share­hold­ers, is es­ca­lat­ing its chilled and frozen meat op­er­a­tions, in­volv­ing a pro­cess­ing part­ner­ship V&V Walsh in WA and Tabro in Vic­to­ria.

The group launched its first branded prod­uct Tau­rindi Beef in Au­gust, for do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional mar­kets in­clud­ing Ja­pan, China and Korea.

Har­mony, meanwhile, con­tin­ues to grow its Aus­tralian fa­cil­i­ties.

The lat­est ad­di­tion to its sta­ble is the 252ha Koomar­lin prop­erty near York, which will serve as a sheep feed­lot and quar­an­tine fa­cil­ity.

Mr Meer­wald is part of a small group of in­vestors that bought the com­pany pri­vately ear­lier this year, and will lease to Har­mony.

That adds to Har­mony’s 1030ha WestBeef prop­erty at Kalan­nie, 1600ha Ra­cho East at Esper­ance, and 5908ha Mount Fyans in Vic­to­ria.

Mr Meer­wald said by vol­ume, there was an even split be­tween cat­tle pro­cessed lo­cally and ex­ported live across the busi­ness.

Har­mony’s own ship­ping com­pany, Har­mony Ma­rine, last week loaded 3141 cat­tle aboard the Yangtze For­tune, now en route to Viet­nam.

Pic­ture: Trevor Col­lens

Har­mony Agri­cul­ture and Food Com­pany team mem­bers Lach­lan Hunter (ex­ter­nal af­fairs), Holly Lu­den­man (com­pli­ance and wel­fare), group fi­nan­cial con­troller Ray­mond Chen and op­er­a­tions, sys­tems and re­port­ing an­a­lyst Kristy Wal­ter with branded boxes for...

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