Media

CEFC finance to improve meat processor’s competitiveness

22 July 2014


The CEFC will finance Bindaree Beef, one of Australia's largest meat processors, for investment in a major on-site waste to energy project, which will halve its power bills, and deliver a significant boost to its competitiveness. 

CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said up to $15 million from CEFC, together with additional bank finance and an Australian Government Clean Technology Investment Program grant would fund a landmark project to install a biodigester and energy efficient rendering facilities that would radically improve the efficiency of Bindaree Beef operations. 

Mr Yates said the CEFC's non-concessional investment in the project, further develops the biogas sector in Australia.

"Again we are demonstrating how waste can be transformed to real value," he said. "Bioenergy is a real business which is mainstream overseas. Biogas technology has not been embraced in Australia at significant scale, yet it should be."

Bindaree Beef Director John Newton said securing finance from the CEFC had been integral to securing the interest of additional private finance, which, along with an Australian Government CTIP grant of around $20 million will cover the total project cost.

"Completion of the project will slash operating costs and increase profit margins, making the company better able to compete on the global market and, in turn, able to pass on benefits to the community through increased job security for employees," he said.

 Mr Yates said the agribusiness sector could be a growth driver for Australia's regions. Ensuring that regional businesses have access to capital to undertake investments like this is critical to Australia's future competitiveness.

The family owned and operated business at Inverell in northern New South Wales is capable of processing 1,200 cattle a day and employs 830.  

The new plant and generator will replace a coal-fired system. The new biodigester will produce biogas to power the rendering plant and boilers, with any excess biogas used for electricity generation. 

The project will reduce the rendering operation's dependency on external electricity and water supplies while eliminating 7,300 tonnes per annum of coal usage and its associated emissions. 

The system is capable of generating 1.2 to 1.6 MW, providing stable and highly reliable supply, with the potential to sell power back into the grid. 

"The $40 million in improvements are expected to halve power bills and reduce annual carbon emissions by three quarters, making the business more competitive and creating the opportunity for a boost in production," he said. 

Construction is expected to take about two years.

The CEFC has experienced strong interest from the market for bioenergy and biogas projects and has invested $30 million in the sector which has catalysed a further $61 million investment from the private sector.

The CEFC's near-term pipeline includes proposals in the bioenergy space for projects valued over $1 billion. The majority of these represent biomass or waste to energy projects using abattoir waste streams, sugar cane bagasse, algae, municipal waste, with over $100 million directed specifically to biogas projects in the agribusiness sector. 

ABOUT BINDAREE BEEF

Bindaree Beef Ltd is one of Australia's largest meat processors with an annual turnover of over $400 million. It is a prominent leader in the Australian meat industry, being one of the top five meat processors in the country with an estimated market share of between 2.5 and 3 per cent.

Bindaree Beef is a family owned and operated meat processing plant, located at Inverell in northern New South Wales, capable of processing 1,200 cattle per day. This operation is strategically located to ensure that Bindaree Beef can source cattle 12 months of the year. The company is a major local employer and has 830 employees with 200 positions being new permanent jobs.

Bindaree Beef was originally established in 1981 at Casino in northern New South Wales. The processing plant at Inverell, is owned and operated by the McDonald family. Three generations of the McDonald family are actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.