Cattle call hits Wellard

Rueben HaleThe West Australian
A single “bungled” boatload of cattle has been offloaded for discount prices.
Camera IconA single “bungled” boatload of cattle has been offloaded for discount prices. Credit: Countryman

A bungled cattle voyage has cost cash-strapped live animal export company Wellard millions.

The Fremantle-based company expects to lose between $8 million and $10 million after it was forced to sell the majority of a boatload of cattle en route from South America to Turkey for discounted prices after Turkish authorities rejected them for falling “outside specifications”.

The news added to speculation over the future of Wellard, with the company’s share price suffering after it reported its full-year expected loss had blown out to between $55 million and $65 million.

The “extraordinary” loss had been included in the new forecast.

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A spokesman for Wellard said the company had completed numerous shipments to Turkey in the previous financial year but encountered an issue with a single voyage.

“Delays with inspections and loading the cattle on to the vessel caused some of the animals, according to an examination committee, to be rejected,” the spokesman said.

He pointed out the incident was not related to mechanical issues. Wellard would seek to appeal the decision but any remuneration would not follow until the end of the current financial year.

They also blamed competition for cattle and the higher than expected loss on a reduction of demand from South East Asian markets due to sustained high cattle prices in Australia.

“The price of livestock in Australia has remained uneconomically high, with live exporters and abattoirs facing considerable competition for animals from growers both holding stock and building their herd," the spokesman said.

“These sustained high prices have meant that the traditional Indonesian and Vietnamese live export markets have been depressed."

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