Yeeda Pastoral Company $103 million in debt, administrators’ report reveals

Olivia FordCountryman
The Kimberley Meat Company abattoir between Broome and Derby.
Camera IconThe Kimberley Meat Company abattoir between Broome and Derby. Credit: Facebook / Kimberley Meat Compan/RegionalHUB

Yeeda Pastoral Company racked up $103 million in debt before the embattled Kimberley business fell into administration in February, a new report has revealed.

It comes after Yeeda and its subsidiary, the Kimberley Meat Company, engaged external administrators from KordaMentha amid financial issues and an ongoing investigation by WA’s environmental regulator into alleged cattle deaths and illegal dumping of abattoir waste.

The figures, which are a far cry from the initially reported debt estimate of $5 million, were revealed in KordaMentha’s first creditors report and a recently published Supreme Court of Western Australia document.

Of the estimated $103m, $43.6 million is owed to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which is listed as Yeeda’s main creditor in the report.

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Overall, $50.4 million is owed to creditors and $53 million to unsecured creditors.

Following the findings, administrators Richard Tucker, Anthony Miskiewicz and David Osborne applied for a six-month extension to sell the group’s assets and hold the second creditors meeting, which was granted by WA Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Hill.

“Mr Osborne’s evidence is that the administrators intend to undertake a sale process for the assets and interests of the Yeeda group,” the judgment reads.

“The (administrators) have already sought proposals from prospective sales agents and expect they will appoint agents to undertake the sale process in the near future.

“At this stage, they believe this process will take well in excess of three months and is more likely to take up to six months.”

Yeeda, which is backed by Hong Kong’s ADM capital and New York-based Fitzroy River Limited, owns eight residential properties and two cattle stations with about 15,000 cattle, according to the court judgement.

Subsidiaries under administration include Yeeda Fodder Company, Kimberley Properties, Yeeda Kimberley Tours, Australian Rangeland Meat, and what was the North WA’s only large-scale abattoir, the Kimberley Meat Company.

In previous reporting, Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association CEO Bron Christensen said the loss of the KMC was a blow to local cattle producers, who used the abattoir as a market alternative.

She said the best outcome for cattle producers would be if a viable business purchased the abattoir and resumed operations.

“If (a business) purchased (KMC) and we had them up here, they were financially viable, they’re environmentally sound, and they also had a focus on animal welfare, then that would be absolutely our best call,” Ms Bron said.

The judgement said the administrators believed all Yeeda entities were insolvent, excluding Yeeda Fodder Company.

Yeeda’s co-founder Mervyn Key resigned as the company’s chairman last year and sold his shareholding to ADM capital.

Also in previous reports, one of the administrators, Mr Osborne, confirmed that trading at the KMC abattoir had been transitioned to “care and maintenance”, leading to an undisclosed number of job losses at the processing plant, which is located between Broome and Derby.

“Yeeda Station is continuing its operations with the ongoing support of the workforce,” he said.

“Having only been called in recently to assist, the administrators are still assessing all the circumstances leading up to the companies entering voluntary administration.”

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