Rod and Shana Russell have completed a buyout of Russell and Lee family members in Western Meat Packers Group’s Margaret River abattoir. This means the couple now have 100 per cent ownership of all assets of Western Meat Packers Group, which employs 360 people and has an annual turnover of about $150 million.
Announcing the successful buyout, WMPG CEO Andrew Fuda said such a positive investment by the founders of the business, which began in 1983, signalled an exciting stage in the beef company’s future.
With a five day a week throughput of about 400 cattle a day and some relief in sight in terms of cattle supply, the Margaret River facility, located on a 100-hectare site and employing 100 people, is implementing significant chiller capacity upgrades and other fitouts to accommodate developing export market prospects.
“Although we currently send all beef, typically sides and quarters, overnight to WMPG’s Osborne Park boning and packing facility to ensure rapid turnaround from paddock to plate, we’re moving towards boning and packing at our Margaret River plant to optimise expanding business opportunities in Asia in particular,” Fuda said.
“A new integrated chiller and freezer unit at Margaret River will allow faster packing and freezing, minimising shrinkage while also improving yields of offals, which are becoming increasingly sought after by WMPG’s Asian export customers.
According to Fuda, the new fitout also meant that shifts could be expanded and processing could move to seven days, with a weekly slaughter capacity of more than 4000 head.
“Also, with chilling and freezing all under one roof and on the site where the cattle are slaughtered and processed, it’ll put us in the frame for export listings for China and Malaysia, both markets we’ve been working on for quite some time,” he said
“The Western Meat Packers brand and reputation for quality and reliability in Asian markets, developed and nurtured over 30 plus years by Rod and senior management gives us confidence that once equipped with the appropriate listings, we can move quickly to supply.”