Here’s hoping – help Hans

Processed meat producer Hans has gone into voluntary administration, after battling higher feed costs due to the drought and increased competition in the pork market.

KordaMentha’s Mark Mentha, Brian McMaster and John Park were appointed as administrators to Hans Continental Smallgoods Pty Ltd, one of the largest ham and processed meat producing companies in Australia, on Friday.

“It’s business as usual and there is no immediate threat to the jobs of production workers,” Mentha said in a statement.

The administrators said the business will trade normally while they try to sell it.

In the meantime, they have asked all Australians to support the business and buy Hans products for Christmas.

“We urge all Australian consumers to buy Australian and buy Hans in the lead-up to Christmas to help secure the future of the workers in this business,” Mentha said.

Hans, which employs about 1400 people, makes ham, bacon, salami, sausages, franks and fresh pork products for the domestic and export markets.

“Hans is a great brand and has some world-class facilities, so our first aim will be to offer the business to buyers with related interests so that some synergies may be achieved,” Mentha said.

He said the company had been hurt by higher feed costs caused by the drought and increased competition from subsidised importers selling frozen ham.

Hans is owned by Japan Tobacco Inc, which last month cancelled a proposed sale of the business to UK-based private equity firm Anchorage Capital Partners Ltd.

Hans has 1000 workers at a manufacturing sites in Colmslie and Wacol in Brisbane, and Blacktown in Sydney.

It is also the major shareholder in Swickers, the second largest pork producer in Australia, which operates an abattoir and bacon factory in Kingaroy, Queensland, employing about 400 people.

Hans also has an office in Doncaster, Melbourne.

A third company, Sun Pork Foods, which sells offal from the Kingaroy plant, is also in voluntary administration.

Mentha said the entitlements of employees were assured.

Hans was established as a small butcher in Brisbane by Dutch-born chef Hans Van Der Drift in the 1960s. It began exporting in 1992 and by 1998 was rated the number two smallgoods manufacturer in Australia.

In 2002, Hans took a 40% stake in Swickers and subsequently acquired a majority share.


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