Wray makes way as CMG plots expansion

Rueben HaleThe West Australian

Craig Mostyn Group chief executive Mark Wray has resigned after 18 months in the role as the company considers the acquisition of another major WA agribusiness player.

CMG executive Patrick Walsh will take over from Mr Wray in an acting role.

Chairman Jim Kennedy said it was “steady as she goes” as the board looked for a permanent replacement.

“The business has been very profitable for many years and we intend to keep it that way,” Mr Kennedy said.

“Nothing will be changing the direction of the business, with the same strategy and further expansion plans as under Mr Wray still in place.”

Mr Wray was CMG’s chief financial officer for six years before taking the helm from David Lock.

Mr Wray said he had delivered on the board’s strategies and the parting was amicable, citing family reasons.

“So as far as I am concerned it is job done and a wait for an exciting new acquisition to reveal itself in one month’s time, which will fulfil another task set for me by the board,” he said.

“We have pork, rendering and seafood pillars, so logically another local protein business would be an ideal fit, and that hasn’t changed since we lost the bid for Harvey Beef in 2014.”

CMG confirmed it was in the advanced stages of due diligence towards acquiring a big WA-based business.

Industry speculation holds that Bunbury meat processor V&V Walsh is a potential target.

The company has shown an appetite for expansion since 2010 and remains hungry with a $100 million kitty.

In the past 18 months CMG ploughed $50 million into the group’s growth strategy, buying two Eastern States abalone farms, Albany farmlands and upgrading its WA-based Linley Valley Pork business.

Mr Wray has often gone to Asia, establishing the firm’s pork and seafood brand in Hong Kong and mainland China.

“I was not able to be in Perth as much as I needed to as we go towards the next level,” he said.

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