Australia: Ridley ‘demonstrated resilience’ in reaction to coronavirus pandemic

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/CasPhotography
© GettyImages/CasPhotography

Related tags: Australia, Thailand

Australia feed manufacturer, Ridley Corporation, said, to date, there has been no direct interruption to its business from the COVID-19 outbreak, with it noting ongoing consumer need for animal proteins.

In a presentation to the PAC Partners & Westpac Agfood conference on April 29, Ridley CEO, Quinton Hildebrand, said the producer responded early to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, securing alternative supply chains and procuring additional raw materials.

Ridley also developed contingency strategies for operational shifts, sanitation and back-up production, he said.

The company did anticipate some reduction in demand from livestock production sectors more reliant on foodservice channels, while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.

In Victoria, Ridley’s 500,000 tons Wellsford feed mill commissioning will be completed in the second half of 2020, said the CEO.

His presentation outlined how there are “significant opportunities”​ within Ridley to simplify the business, install automation, leverage its raw material supply and to rationalize the supply chain.

The feed manufacturer recently saw extensive organizational changes, aimed at improving responsiveness to, and alignment with customer needs, "facilitating a more proactive relationship with our customers.”

Rationalization

The restructuring resulted in 44 job losses and was intended to realize AUS $5M in annualized savings. In October 2019, Ridley announced the closure of one of its two South Australian feed mills, a site in Murray Bridge, which employed 13 staff.

Meanwhile, in February this year, Ridley appointed Siddharth Jain as CEO of its business around its value-added ingredient for use in prawn feed, Novacq.

Jain will focus on accelerating the commercialization of the Novacq franchise internationally, said Ridley.

The announcement of that new role coincided with what the company said was the successful completion of the acquisition of around 50 hectares of land encompassing the existing Thailand Novacq production ponds and the remaining 51% shareholding in the Pen Ngern feed mill.

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