The feed producer, in a separate ASX statement release today [June 28], also predicted that its full-year profit outlook would be lower than analyst forecasts.
Ridley, which is set to see its new fish feed plant in Tasmania go live in 2019, is anticipating full-year net profit of between AUS $22m-$24m, with analyst consensus forecast coming in at AUS $25m.
The prior year equivalent result was AUS $17.4m.
Hart had been over six years in the CEO role at Ridley. The company did not go into any detail about Hart's exit, just saying its board had felt it was the right time for a leadership change.
Hart will be replaced by non-executive Ridley director, David Lord, on an temporary basis, until a permanent successor is found.
In the release to the ASX, Ridley said it would continue to focus on its domestic growth plans, and would accelerate the commercialization of its franchise feed additive, Novacq.
In April this year, construction started on the company’s new pig and poultry feed-manufacturing site in Victoria, which, with an annual capacity of more than 350,000 tons, is set to become the largest of the company’s 21 facilities throughout Australia.
Ridley has allowed a budget of AUS $45-$50m for the project, which is due to be finished around mid-2020.
In February, Hart said he remained positive about the long-term prospects for the company’s feed ingredient, Novacq, which it claims generates an increase in prawn biomass when added to the feed at an inclusion rate of 5%. He said then that Ridley would be running trials on the feed additive in species other than prawns over the next 12 months.
Full details of Ridley's half-year financial results, published February 20 2019, can be accessed here.