First section of Hans sold, ACCC approval still required for any Primo bid

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 12th February 2009

KordaMentha, the administrators for Hans Smallgoods, today announced it had entered an agreement to sell Swicker’s Bacon Factory in Kingaroy, Queensland, to a local group of pork producers, as the ACCC continues to look into Primo’s proposal to acquire Hans.

Swicker’s is a significant part of the Hans group of companies, which was placed in voluntary administration under KordaMentha in November 2008.

The factory will be sold for an undisclosed price to the CHM Alliance, a minority shareholder in Swicker’s and an alliance of three of Australia’s largest pork producers.

Mr Brian McMaster of KordaMentha suggested the sale was a great result for Swicker’s and Kingaroy because it secured continuity of operations and secured the employment of the factory’s 400 workers.

Mr McMaster said it also ensured continued excellence in quality of supply because the CHM Alliance was one of the factory’s biggest suppliers as well as owner of the Australian branch of the American Pig Improvement Company, which specialises in pig genetics and breeding. The factory has been operating normally under the administration while KordaMentha negotiated a sale.

Other parts of the Hans group include Hans Continental Smallgoods, with the entire Group employing 1000 people.

Mr McMaster said KordaMentha was currently discussing the Hans assets with a number of potential buyers. “We are also waiting on rulings from the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission on possible sale negotiations with the Primo group. We are hoping for a speedy outcome for the sake of the 1000 employees, but we cannot proceed until we hear from the ACCC,” he reported.

The ACCC was due to publish the findings of their review into a possible acquisition of Hans by Primo today – February 12.