Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Scott Tech not at risk from corrupt acts

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Scott Technology employees and investors were not put at risk by the actions of people involved in its Brazilian parent company, the Overseas Investment Office says.
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It found Joesley and Wesley Batista are no longer of good character, as required under OIO rules, but no longer have control of JBS Australia, through which Brazil-based JBS owns its 51% stake in the Dunedin industrial technology group.

The Batistas have admitted  bribing public officials in Brazil, OIO manager Vanessa Horne.

They are major shareholders in the Brazilian company and used to hold senior executive and governance roles.

The OIO had required JBS Australia to give assurances about its control of Scott Technology, by ensuring at least half the directors, excluding the managing director, are independent.

“The OIO may take stricter measures if Joesley or Wesley Battista assume any control over JBS Australia in the future. This could include asking JBS Australia to sell its shares in Scott Technology.”

Horne said these and other arrangements give the OIO confidence the company and its other shareholders will not be negatively affected by the corrupt actions of the Batistas. 

JBS is the world’s biggest meat processor and JBS Australia the biggest in Australia. Scott Technology has installed systems in the business there as well as installing automated lamb processing systems for New Zealand meat processors. 

Scott Technology has seven directors, three of whom are JBS representatives. Chairman Stuart McLauchlan, a Dunedin accountant, is an independent director along with Derek Charge and John Thorman. Managing director Chris Hopkins is not independent under NZX rules but is a long-time Scott executive from before the JBS involvement.

OIO approved the JBS investment in Scott Technology in 2016.

Hopkins said the settlement between the OIO and JBS Australia did not directly involve Scott Technology but it is important the shareholders have the information.

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