AACo finds taste for boxed beef

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

AUS­TRALIAN Agri­cul­tural Com­pany’s shift to­wards ex­port­ing pack­aged meat will cush­ion it from the fall­out from In­done­sia’s mas­sive cut to live cat­tle im­ports.

In­done­sia has re­duced the quota of live cat­tle im­ports to 50,000 in the three months to Septem­ber, down from 250,000 in the pre­ced­ing quar­ter.

AACo’s trans­for­ma­tion from a cat­tle pro­ducer to a boxed meat ex­porter has cre­ated a more ro­bust busi­ness, share­hold­ers were told at the com­pany’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing in Bris­bane yesterday.

“As In­done­sia’s re­cent de­ci­sion to re­duce live cat­tle im­ports demon­strates, prod­uct and mar­ket di­ver­sity is im­por­tant,” the group’s chair­man Don­ald McGauchie said.

Since Aus­tralia tem­po­rar­ily banned live cat­tle ex­ports to In­done­sia in 2011, AACo has been grow­ing its busi­ness in the boxed beef mar­ket.

The com­pany spent $ 91 mil­lion build­ing the Liv­ing­stone Beef abat­toir in Dar­win, which was opened in Fe­bru­ary. It will process up to 1000 head of cat­tle a day at full ca­pac­ity.

AACo man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Jason Strong said the vol­ume of cat­tle pro­cessed at the plant was in­creas­ing to meet de­mand.

“We are in an en­vi­ron­ment now where we have strong global de­mand for pro­teins, par­tic­u­larly for beef,” he said.

“In the grass fed part of the busi­ness, we made a strate­gic de­ci­sion to sub­stan­tially re­duce the num­ber of cat­tle sold ex­ter­nally and this process will con­tinue in 2016.”

Boxed beef ac­counted for 77 per cent of rev­enue in fis­cal 2015, up 18 per cent. Wagyu beef ac­counted for 52 per cent of its boxed beef rev­enue.

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