Australia’s Oyster Coast Ltd held its first annual general meeting of shareholders in Narooma today.
Oyster grower and non-grower shareholders turned out in good numbers to hear the Chairman’s address and to elect a Chairman and Board.
Chairman, David Trebeck, having recently attended an international air freight seminar at Canberra Airport, shared some insights from Federal Trade Minister, Andrew Robb. Minister Robb discussed the importance of connectivity, praising the Canberra International Airport agreement with Singapore Airlines and noting that where air flights led, trade followed. Minister Robb had also reported the ‘spectacular’ reputation enjoyed by Australian agricultural products in Asia and highlighted recent OECD forecasts that the present 600 million middle class population residing between India and China is expected to grow to 3 billion over the next 35 years, which will result in unprecedented food demand implications.
Mr Trebeck told shareholders that the facts and figures quoted graphically underscore the relevance of the Australia’s Oyster Coast business model, which should give all shareholders confidence that the company is on the right track.
Mr Trebeck reported that many lessons had been learnt in the past year – most of them positive.
Export sales volumes had been slower to build up than anticipated as markets the company is targeting, while enormous by Australian standards, are mature, sophisticated and competitive. Mr Trebeck advised that adjustments had been made to the business model and price position, that the company better understands the markets where ‘our oysters fit best’ and had developed some good distributors and customers. He expected the company’s export sales would ramp up significantly in the near term but conceded it was difficult to say exactly when this would occur and by how much.
Mr Trebeck shared an interesting insight regarding the importance overseas customers place on the brand’s visibility and recognition in its home market. He advised shareholders that the company needed to be selling oysters and promoting its brand in the domestic market and that the relevance and importance of the Oyster Trail tourism initiative ‘could not be over emphasised’. He added that the Board had recently signed off on a domestic strategy that would be progressively implemented to capture domestic sales opportunities that didn’t compete with the company’s individual shareholders.
The company’s financial results were tabled covering two months of operation to the end of the 2014-15 financial year and revealed a $76,000 loss which was consistent with earlier projections and reflected the reality of establishing a new venture. Mr Trebeck advised that the priority now is to increase revenue and confirmed that the Board’s earlier indication of of getting to a cash break even by the end of the 2015-16 financial year remains a key objective.
All Board members stood for re-election, with the exception of Stacey Loftus, who is expecting her third child imminently. All were re-elected and Clyde River farmer, Steve Feletti, was also elected to the Board. The Chairman thanked Mrs Loftus for her significant contribution.
Read the full transcript of the Chairman’s address here.