Wednesday, April 24, 2024

N Otago meat co lags on financial filing

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May be facing enforcement action after failing to file accounts.
Migrant workers need time to adjust to the work and work environment in New Zealand’s meat industry.
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Meat company BX Foods, which is 97% owned by a company based in China’s Heilongjiang province, is facing the prospect of enforcement action after failing to file its accounts to the Companies Office.

The North Otago-based company operates a freezing works outside of Oamaru, and its reporting entity, NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods Limited, is yet to file its financial statements for the 12 months to December last year – despite being reminded twice.

Under the Financial Reporting Act, the company is deemed to be a large reporting entity, so it must file its statements five months post-balance date. In BX Foods’ case, they were due on May 31.

According to figures provided to BusinessDesk, just over 1000 companies have a filing obligation for the December reporting period.

On June 1, 395 of those received an overdue notice from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), giving them an extra three months to comply.

In August, MBIE’s integrity and enforcement team (IET) manager, Vanessa Cook, said in a statement that the number of companies receiving overdue notices had been high since the onset of the covid-19 pandemic.

Cook confirmed that BX Foods was one of 145 companies that had been referred to IET to consider enforcement action after not filing within that period.

BusinessDesk asked the company last month when its accounts would be filed. It didn’t respond.

Nor did it respond this week when asked about the IET referral.

Despite not filing its statements, Companies Office records show Richard Thorp, its long-standing chief executive, stood down as a director. He was replaced by Fenglin Zhu of Australia.

Thorp remains a 1% shareholder alongside Arron Hoyle and Gerard Brier, both of whom have 1% each. 

The company’s registered address has recently changed from a Taupō address to law firm Meredith Connell’s office in Auckland.

In 2015, the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) gave NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods – which is 97% owned by Heilongjiang Binxi Cattle Industry Co Limited from China’s Heilongjiang province – the green light to purchase the Oamaru plant of Lean Meats for $5 million.

According to a decision from then, the company planned to introduce additional investment to upgrade the plant and install new equipment.

“This will allow it to significantly increase beef processing at the plant. The applicant also plans to increase exports to China through its supply networks,” the OIO decision said.

More than a year later, it unsuccessfully launched a $25.4m takeover deal of Invercargill meat company Blue Sky Meats.

Last year, two cornerstone shareholders launched a takeover of Blue Sky Meats, ending up with just under 75% of it. NZ Binxi (Oamaru) Foods remains a nearly 20% shareholder.

In 2019, the Oamaru plant was shut for a period of time after its access to the Chinese beef market was shut after beef fat packaging was not up to standard.

The company’s most recent financial statements on the Companies Office are for the 12 months to December 21. In that year, it had revenue of $102.8m with a profit of $2.6m. 

That compared to revenue of $68.5m and a loss of $1.3m in the 2020 year.

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