Beef 2018 Preview

International investment focus for Beef 2018 seminar series

Jon Condon, 19/03/2018

PERSPECTIVES from three prominent Australian red meat industry stakeholders will feature in an international investment seminar being held during Beef Australia 2018 in Rockhampton.

Three seminars at this year’s expo in May will be targeted at participants in the International Handshakes program – two being staged on Monday 7 May targeting visitors attending the event from overseas, and the third, targeting Australian participants, on Thursday 10 May.

All three will be held in the James Lawrence pavilion.

More than 1100 international visitors from a wide range of countries across north and south Asia, the Pacific region, Europe, North and South America and the Middle East/Africa region attended the last Rockhampton Beef Expo in 2015, and organisers are hopeful of similar numbers this year.

Overseas handshakes program registrations are now flowing in in large numbers. Key areas of interest flagged by the early registrants include genetics, equipment and technology, engaging directly with Australian beef producers, beef trade and live exports.

The Thursday 10 May seminar targeted at Australian Handshakes participants is titled “Are you Investment ready?”

Prue Bondfield

The line-up of speakers includes seedstock producer Prue Bondfield from Palgrove, Jason Strong from Smithfield Cattle Co and Phil Cummins from the North Australian Pastoral Co.

All three have had first-hand exposure to international investment in the Australian red meat supply chain.

In October last year, Prue Bondfield and husband David announced an investment deal in their successful Palgrove seedstock business, via the NZ Superannuation Fund.

Established in 2003, the Fund currently has an asset value of more than NZ$35 Billion and has significant direct investments in NZ agriculture together with

Jason Strong

forestry holdings globally.

The Palgrove agreement was the first-ever investment by an institutional investor in the Australian beef seedstock industry.

NZSF’s portfolio manager, Neil Woods said at the time of the announcement that NZSF had gained a good understanding of the characteristics of agriculture as an investment, through its direct investment in global forestry assets, together with significant agricultural interests in NZ over the last seven years.

“We have been looking at the Australian beef industry for some time as part of an overall diversification strategy. We concluded very quickly that people, and more particularly their management expertise, was key to any successful investment in this asset class,” Mr Woods said.

Phil Cummins

Jason Strong departed last August as chief executive officer of publicly-listed Australian Agricultural Co, now 44pc owned by UK-based investor, Joe Lewis’s Tavistock Investments.

In February he was appointed chief executive officer of Queensland’s Smithfield Cattle Co (see earlier Beef Central report).

Phil Cummins was appointed chief executive officer of the North Australian Pastoral Co in January, following Australian superannuation investment manager, QIC’s investment in an 80pc stake in NAPCo in May 2016 (see earlier story).

Mr Cummins has held senior positions with QIC for the past 12 years, including his most recent role as principal of QIC’s global private capital team. He led QIC’s investment into NAPCo in 2016 and has been responsible for a range of QIC initiatives in food and agribusiness.

He has served as QIC’s representative and chairman of NAPCo board prior to taking over the role as CEO. Prior to joining QIC in 2006, Mr Cummins was a business director with brokers, Wilson HTM, focused on Australian middle market growth companies, and spent time as an investment banker in San Francisco, working with Deutsche Bank and Thomas Weisel Partners.

Two seminars for international visitors

Two other investment seminars being held at Beef 2018 on Monday 7 May for the benefit of international visitors are already sold-out.

The “Investment opportunities in the Australian beef supply chain” seminar will include an insight into the Australian beef industry and how it functions; the advantages, opportunities and key considerations in Australian beef supply chain investment; regulatory issues and related topics.

Speakers and panellists include Laguna Bay’s executive Tim McGavin, Paraway Pastoral Co’s Jock Whittle, Brett Heading from Brisbane law firm Jones Day, Mitch Alderman from HSBC, Austrade and Trade Investment Queensland representatives and a Treasury spokesman.

A separate Monday morning (May 7) briefing for international visitors will include an overview of the Australian beef supply and demand situation, trade access, biosecurity issues and related topics. Presentations will be made by MLA personnel including Scott Tolmie and Lisa Sharp, plus representatives from DAWR, Trade Investment Queensland, Austrade, and Queensland Department of Agriculture.

Tickets

Tickets for the ‘Are you Investment ready?’ seminar being held from 10:30am to Noon on Thursday 10 May will go on sale on Monday 19 March. Click here to access tickets, via the ‘seminars’ section. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to book early. Both the international investment seminars for overseas visitors are now sold out.

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