Liquidators appointed to failed Angus cattle investment scheme
Liquidators have been appointed to a failed Angus investment scheme operated by a bankrupt Brisbane property developer. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission this week obtained orders from the supreme court of Queensland appointing Deloitte as provisional liquidators to three companies associated with Keith Batt and his wife, Margaret Letizia, who were behind the Nangus group of companies. ASIC said it applied for and obtained the orders as part of an ongoing investigation into the Nangus Group of companies. It said it sought the orders due to concerns about the solvency and lack of management of the companies. In particular, ASIC said it has concerns about a herd of approximately 261 head of cattle abandoned by company management. ASIC said Keith Batt and Margaret Letizia, the individuals responsible for the creation and management of the companies, are now both personally bankrupt, disqualifying them from managing a corporation. Nangus Holdings Pty Ltd (previously Nant Angus Holdings Pty Ltd) offered an investment in cattle to retail investors. As part of the investment arrangement, Nant Angus was to lease the herds back from the investor for a period of five years from the date of purchase and then buy them back from the investor at an agreed price. Investors were told that during the lease period they would be paid an annual interest rate of 9.95 per cent on their investment capital. Investors were introduced to this investment through full page advertisements taken out in the Australian Financial Review newspaper by Nant Angus. The orders require Deloitte to provide a detailed report to the Court regarding the financial position and management of each company so the Court can consider whether to make final orders to wind the companies up.
Ireland becomes first EU country to enter Chinese beef market
Ireland will become the first European Union country to gain access to China’s fast-growing beef market after Beijing this week announced it has approved imports from three Irish beef processors. China banned beef imports from the EU over a decade ago following a BSE detection. Irish Agriculture Minister Michael Creed the approval presented an excellent opportunity for the Irish beef sector and was a powerful endorsement of Ireland’s high food safety standards.
Irish agri-food exports to China have increased roughly five-fold from around €200 million in 2010 to nearly €1 billion last year. The Minister said he will lead a trade mission to China next month to further build on Ireland’s trade relationship with China. He said he was hopeful a number of other Irish beef plants could soon also gain access.
Supermarket caters to Millennials who ‘hate touching raw meat’
A United Kingdom supermarket chain will soon start selling chicken in special packaging that allows millennials – those now in their twenties and thirties – to transfer the meat straight to the frying pan without touching it. The move is in direct response to marketing research showing 37 percent of UK consumers under the age of 35 saying they do not like coming into contact with raw meat. According to The Times, supermarket chain Sainsbury’s will next month introduce chicken packed in plastic pouches, or “doypacks”, that allows them to put chicken pieces directly into a pan without having to actually touch the meat. “Customers, particularly younger ones, are quite scared of touching raw meat,” Katherine Hall, Sainsbury’s product development manager for meat, fish and poultry at Sainsbury’s, told the Times. “These bags allow people, especially those who are time-poor, to just ‘rip and tip’ the meat straight into the frying pan without touching it.” The fear was attributed to a “lack of education” about food safety, or simply because the age group was so used to eating out they’d prefer someone else to cook for them.
UK to introduce mandatory CCTV in abattoirs, eyes live export ban
The UK Government has launched a call for evidence to support a potential ban on the live export of animals for slaughter once the UK leaves the EU. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said taking action on live animal exports is part of a program of reforms the UK Government is implementing to position the UK as a global leader in animal welfare as it leaves the EU. “We have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world which we are strengthening further by raising maximum sentences for animal cruelty to five years and introducing mandatory CCTV in abattoirs,” he said. The call for evidence, which will last for six weeks, seeks views from across industry, devolved authorities, charities and the general public on how the government might raise standards of animal welfare during transport after the UK leaves the EU. “All options for future improvements in this area are being considered, including a potential ban on the live export of animals for slaughter.” More details here.
Japan’s beef bowl chain Yoshinoya enters Indian market
Japan’s major fast-food restaurant operator Yoshinoya, known for its beef bowls, could soon expand into India. The company has established a wholly-owned subsidiary in India to explore running a chain of restaurants in the predominantly Hindu country. Yoshinoya also has outlets in the United States, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia and Cambodia, with its overseas outlets accounting for about a quarter of its roughly 3,200 stores. A spokeswoman told the Koyoda news agency it might be difficult to initially launch a beef bowl restaurant in India and noted that chicken-oriented menus are available in various Asian countries. More details here
NT lifts fracking ban
The Northern Territory government has lifted a ban on hydraulic fracking that will open up 51 percent of the territory to the controversial gas extraction process. The NT Government this week announced it had accepted all 135 recommendations from an independent fracking inquiry. “We have accepted the key finding of the report – that if all the recommendations are implemented the risk from fracking can be reduced to an acceptable level,” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said. He said strict new laws and regulations will be put in place to protect the environment, the cultures and lifestyles that rely on it, and the tourism, pastoral and agricultural industries. The first exploration fracking by petroleum companies is expected to occur early next year after the implementation of a regulatory regime and new laws.
‘Unsettled science’ should force vegetation law rethink
Queensland farm group AgForce says there is too much “unsettled science” around the amount of vegetation growing in Queensland compared to how much is being cleared for the Palaszczuk Government to push ahead new vegetation management restrictions in the State. AgForce is requesting an independent review of the scientific data around vegetation management, including determining what knowledge gaps existed in the research. It says the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations has noted Australia is second only to China in reporting the greatest annual net gain in forest area while the Federal Environment Department has noted ‘the area of land under forest in Australia is tending to increase’, clearing to maintain pasture and to manage regrowth ‘contribute negligible amounts of net greenhouse gas emissions over the longer term’. “AgForce has always said we are willing to engage in a science and evidence based process on this issue, but that means looking at all the facts, including how much vegetation is growing, not just how much is cleared,” AgForce general president Grant Maudsley said.