Chinese seek bigger stake in Oamaru meat plant

Lean Meats chief executive Richard Thorp. Photo by Lean Meats.
Lean Meats chief executive Richard Thorp. Photo by Lean Meats.
Overseas Investment Office approval is being sought to increase a Chinese-based shareholding in Lean Meats' Oamaru plant.

NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods, whose shares were owned by Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co Ltd, has already bought a 24.9% stake in the plant and wants to increase that to 50%.

Yesterday, Richard Thorp, who finishes this week as chief executive of Lean Meats and will join NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods as chief operating officer, said it was positive news for North Otago.

Binxi was predominantly a cattle business, specialising in beef, and it would be processing and exporting to China.

Mr Thorp, who was appointed chief executive of Lean Meats in 2010, after six years with Cedenco Foods in Gisborne and three years as manager of Alliance Group's Pukeuri plant, is returning to Oamaru with his family.

He expected there would be increased investment, in time, at the plant in north Oamaru.

Hastings-based Lean Meats bought Abco Meats (Oamaru) Ltd, which had gone into receivership, in 2006.

Abco Meats was set up with mainly farmer and butcher shareholders to buy, upgrade and operate the former Oamaru borough abattoirs in the 1970s.

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