Abattoir to reopen under new owners

Headshot of Jenne Brammer
Jenne BrammerThe West Australian
Central Agri Group partner Peter Polovinka will head the team managing the reopened business in Esperance.
Camera IconCentral Agri Group partner Peter Polovinka will head the team managing the reopened business in Esperance. Credit: Dorothy Henderson

Businessman Rami Koyu plans to reopen by February an Esperance abattoir that closed after a corporate collapse this year.

Shark Lake Food Group, which Mr Koyu ran with business partners John Reed and John Wildberger, was placed into administration in May.

Mr Koyu said the Myrup premises and facility, owned by Shark Lake Holdings, had been sold to Central Agri Group, the parent company of his Melbourne-based operations.

The reopened abattoir will be called Central Agri Group — Esperance.

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Peter Polovinka, a partner in CAG, has moved to Esperance and will head the team managing the business.

Former SLFG director John Reed takes on the role of live-stock procurement manager.

Mr Koyu said about 50 former permanent staff would receive offers of employment by year-end and the company would also advertise to fill vacancies.

A further 50-60 casual positions were likely to become available.

Mr Koyu said the reopened meat works would continue to hold an export licence, and be one of the few multi-species abattoirs in Australia.

Shark Lake Meat Works was processing 400,000-500,000 small stock and 20,000-25,000 cattle before closing.

The reopened abattoir will operate to a similar capacity.

“Unlike 10 months ago, there is now plenty of supply of beef and sheep in the Esperance region and we are confident the business can be successful,” Mr Koyu said. “There is definite demand for an abattoir in the area as it is costing a lot for producers to transport livestock to the Eastern States.

“CAG exports lamb, mutton and beef products to a strong global customer base, many of whom are keen to see us resume processing in the region as the meat quality is highly regarded because of its clean and green image.”

Mr Koyu said an immediate focus would be to rebuild relationships with farmers and suppliers, many of whom supported the former company during tough times.

He would not comment on debts owed by SLFG, because it was in the hands of liquidators and out of his control.

CAG also owns Joanna Plains, a 10,000ha property north of Perth that trades under Carpenter Beef and offers a custom feeding feedlot, backgrounding facility and live export business.

The company’s long-term plan was to finish construction of a beef abattoir at Joanna Plains and continue to build an integrated beef business in WA.

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