18/09/2015 - 14:25

Lock to run seafood business

18/09/2015 - 14:25

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Style chairman Peter Hutchinson has boosted his fledgling seafood business with the recruitment of experienced agribusiness executive David Lock as managing director.

Lock to run seafood business
Style directors James Clement (left) with David Lock and Peter Hutchinson.

Style chairman Peter Hutchinson has boosted his fledgling seafood business with the recruitment of experienced agribusiness executive David Lock as managing director.

Mr Lock currently runs family-owned Craig Mostyn Group, which has annual turnover of $420 million and 570 staff.

“It’s an opportunity to step into a tiny company by comparison, and to take the two acquisitions we're planning and build a large agribusiness,” Mr Lock told Business News.

Mr Lock said he had aspired to work in a public company, and was attracted to the idea of joining a small team and growing.

Over the past three months, ASX-listed Style has announced plans to purchase two existing businesses – it will pay $20 million for Nor-West Seafoods’ prawn fishing operation and up to $8.75 million for Craig Mostyn Group’s food services division.

As part of the latter deal, Mr Lock had already agreed to join Style as a non-executive director.

In tandem with the acquisitions, Style is planning a capital raising of at least $16 million through Euroz Securities, and a change of name to Mareterram.

Mr Lock will commence with Style on January 1, at which time Mr Hutchinson intends to become non-executive chairman.

Style’s executive director James Clement will focus on growing the Nor-West Seafoods business.

Mr Lock said his aspiration was to expand the business.

“It is absolutely to grow it, in the agribusiness space,” he said.

“There are no specific targets at this point in time, but it will be driven by strategic marketing to identify the products that the domestic and export markets want.”

Mr Lock said Style would most likely build on its foundation businesses.

“It makes sense to grow in seafood, and then perhaps to diversify," he said.

“It will hopefully be businesses with a domestic and export focus because that gives you the best ability to diversify your customer base.”

Mr Lock has worked at Craig Mostyn Group for 19 years, and been chief executive since 2004.

It was during this period that he shifted the company’s head office to Western Australia, to be closer to its pork operations.

He has overseen considerable growth at Craig Mostyn over the past decade, lifting annual revenue from $270 million to $420 million.

On this basis, Craig Mostyn is ranked as the fourth largest agribusiness in WA, according to the BNiQ ranking prepared by Business News.

It sets below only CBH Group, Wellard Group and Kailis Bros.

Mr Lock told Business News an even bigger achievement was improving profit margins at the Craig Mostyn business.  

Mr Hutchinson said he was delighted to have attracted someone of Mr Lock’s calibre to lead the company.

“It is very significant for the company at this stage of its development to be able to attract a senior figure in the Australian agribusiness landscape,” he said.

“David’s decision to join the company and be responsible for driving the business and its strategy is a strong endorsement of the company’s early efforts to establish a high quality, diversified agribusiness platform based out of WA.”

Mr Hutchinson built Forge Group into one of Western Australia's most successful engineering and construction contractors before leaving in 2012, and has spent the past two years looking for businesses to vend into Style

Craig Mostyn Group chairman Jim Kennedy said the board wished Mr Lock every success in future.“The business has just announced another record result, and is in great shape going forward, with strongly growing markets for its main products, major capital expenditure projects on track, and a continuing appetite for growth,” he said.Mr Kennedy added the Group has the depth of management capacity to ensure a smooth transition to a new CEO, who will come from considering internal and external candidates. 

 

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