Esperance's Shark Lake Food Group goes into liquidation

Shark Lake abattoir’s future has been put on the chopping block after the company went into liquidation on Wednesday.

Creditors of the troubled Shark Lake Food Group voted at against giving the abattoir a second chance, at a meeting held in Esperance. 

Philip Newman and David Charles Quinn, from Melbourne-based insolvency firm PCI Partners, were appointed to review the company’s financial situation on February 24 and have now become the liquidators.

The company was one of the largest employers in region, with around 50 full-time and up to 60 casual workers. 

Mr Newman said former employees of the company would be able to claim their entitlements through the Department of Employment’s Fair Entitlements Guarantee Scheme.

In a report to creditors published on May 9 Mr Newman found the company owed their employees more than $130,000 in entitlements and superannuation.

However the entitlements do not include long service leave and termination entitlements. 

The report states that if the company when into liquidation employee entitlements could not be paid in full.

The report found parent company Central Meat Exports owes the abattoir more than $3 million, and stated the amount was “highly unlikely” to be recovered as it’s also struggling financially.

A previous report published in late February found the company owed around $13 million to more than 100 creditors, with the largest amount to an unsecured creditor being $1,044,412.22.  

More than 15 people were at the meeting, with some creditors choosing to attend via teleconference.

Mr Newman said he would now undertake further investigations into the company.

In their recommendations, both Mr Newman and Mr Quinn found winding up the company was in the creditors’ best interests.

“I have no alternative other than to recommend to creditors that the company be placed into liquidation,” the report stated.  

The first meeting of creditors was held on March 8, followed by a second meeting in early April that was then adjourned to May 17.

When the company first declared they were in administration Melbourne-based co-owner Rami Koyu said the abattoir’s future was in jeopardy, after what he described as the most difficult time in the meat industry in living memory. Mr Koyu has been contacted for comment.