Harvey Beef clocks $1m loss amid high cattle price pain
Harvey Beef has reported a $1.021 million loss for the year despite an increase in sales, reflecting the pain high cattle prices are causing Australian meat processors.
Sales reached $284.8 million for the year to June 30, up by about 7 per cent on the previous year, according to filings this week with the corporate watchdog by Harvey Beef’s parent Harvey Industries Group.
The reported loss of $1.021 million was down from a net profit of $195,000 in 2016, and net profit of $3.1 million in 2015.
Minderoo head of investment John Hartman said high cattle prices created headaches for all Australian meat processors.
“Some in the industry have described this as the most challenging time for meat processors in living memory and Harvey Beef has not been immune,” he said.
“But on the positive side we are starting to see some correction or readjustment in cattle prices, which is providing some relief for processors,” he said.
“The investments we have made into the plant over the last three and a half years are also starting to lead to good improvements on productivity.”
Mr Hartman said the WA public’s support for the Harvey Beef-branded premium range launched in Coles in March was encouraging.
Although representing only a small part of the Harvey Beef business, Mr Hartman said strong demand would help performance going forward.
At June 30, Harvey Beef was carrying 1924 head of cattle worth $3.57 million, down from 3003 cattle worth $5.56 million a year earlier.
Since buying Harvey Beef in 2014, Mr Forrest’s Minderoo Group has invested tens of millions of dollars in the operation, which is supported by a portfolio of six northern cattle stations carrying about 40,000 cattle, creating an integrated beef supply chain to feed domestic and export markets.
Mr Hartman said while the processing business had suffered this year, on the other side of the fence Minderoo’s pastoral operations had benefited from high cattle prices.
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