Major exporter award to Sanger head

Jon Condon, 15/03/2012

Sanger Australia chief executive, Richard RainsSydney-based meat exporter Richard Rains has received a significant national export industry achievement award, in recognition of a distinguished 40-year career in beef trading across the globe.

Mr Rains was announced this morning as one of the Australian Institute of Exports’ “Australian Export Hero” award winners for 2012. He will formally receive his citation at a function at Government House in April. He was nominated by banker, HSBC.

Mr Rains is chief executive and a major shareholder in Sanger Australia, one of the nation’s largest non-packer exporters.

Educated in Sydney after growing up on a property in the central west of NSW, Mr Rains took up a cadetship with Dalgety where he was appointed to the company’s beef export division.

During 1974 he sold the first Australian beef to Korea – a market that has continued to grow to a point where it has become Australia’s third largest export market.

Mr Rains then joined Sanger Australia in 1976, later taking equity in the business and completing a buy-out of former owner John Cooper, with his long- term business partner Graham Greenhalgh. Sanger was originally a publicly-listed company in the UK, before returning to private hands in 1980.

During the late 1990s he convinced McDonalds North America that they should be using Australian beef in their North American burger patties, and was instrumental in establishing that grinding beef trade out of Australia, at a time when many in the industry thought it impossible.

The volume of grinding beef bought by McDonalds North America out of Australia today is very significant.

Sanger has gone on to supply beef to McDonalds not only in the US, but also into Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China and across south east Asia, as well as domestically in Australia. 

Today Sanger Australia is one of the larger privately-owned meat trading companies, representing a number of export processors including Bindaree, near Inverell, and Monbeef at Cooma, with their export sales and marketing activities.

Sanger Australia Pty Ltd is also a pioneer and prominent processor/exporter and supplier to the Australian domestic market of Certified Organic beef and lamb under the Organic Meat Company label, processed out of the Stanbroke Beef Grantham plant.

An increasing amount of the company’s business today is based around consolidating product from different plants for large international customers who might be seeking combinations of lamb, grainfed beef, grassfed beef, Wagyu or Organic beef, for example. 

In 2007 Sanger established a business in Brazil exporting chicken meat across the world. The company’s decision to develop in South America was driven by a need for strategic diversification, both into a new continent and a new species, as a form of business insurance.

Mr Rains is a director of the Co-operative Research Centre for Beef Genetic Technologies based at the University of New England at Armidale. The CRC will complete its 20-year term in June this year.

The Australian Institute of Export’s ‘Australian Export Hero’ awards were established ten years ago, recognising individuals who have made an outstanding contribution not only to export of Australian goods and services, but to building the nation’s reputation overseas as a leader in many fields of endeavour.

This year’s nominations included people from both traditional export sectors like agriculture, manufacturing and mining and others from a diverse range of specialised business activities including avionics, Thoroughbred racing (Magic Millions head, David Chester), medical equipment, skin care and architecture.

Previous winners have come from diverse backgrounds, including Gina Rinehart (Mining) and The Wiggles (Children’s Music).

There have been two previous award recipients from the export beef industry: Rob Black, from Samex in Adelaide; and Jack Hines, head of Melbourne’s Hines Group.


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