A number of potential buyers have inspected Killarney Abattoir in recent weeks.
A number of potential buyers have inspected Killarney Abattoir in recent weeks.

Agent hopeful of an abattoir sale

RUMOURS of interest in the Killarney Abattoir appear to have some basis, with the marketing agent confirming an inspection was carried out by a potential buyer as recently as last week.

Andrew Williams, of Elders Warwick, told the Daily News yesterday that while nothing was signed and sealed, he remained hopeful that a sale could be achieved.

The former Leitch Pastoral Group plant shut down in February along with its Pittsworth counterpart, leaving 230 people jobless and debts to hundreds of unsecured creditors of more than $7 million.

Despite the misery the closures inflicted on the local community, Leitch Pastoral Group owner Dudley Leitch has continued with his other farming operations in the region, including sheep breeding.

The former gold mining magnate also came in at number 94 on the most recent Queensland 100 Richest list released in August.

Mr Williams said he continued to field strong enquiry in relation to the Killarney Abattoir and that “a number” of inspections had been undertaken in recent weeks by a range of potential buyers.

“There is ongoing interest but that’s about all I can confirm at this stage,” Mr Williams said.

“We are working very hard with several interested parties with a view to finalising a sale.”

Mr Williams declined to be drawn further on where the lookers were from and said he was unaware of a separate rumour that the abattoir site had been inspected by officers from the Queensland Department of Primary Industries in recent weeks.

The abattoir was purchased by Leitch Pastoral Group entity K A Properties (Australia) in January 2008 for $5.17m.

The former Leitch Pittsworth abattoir was bought by Sunpork Processing in June for an undisclosed sum and resumed operations, although livestock industry insiders have reported the plant has experienced difficulties in sourcing cattle, lambs and pigs.

Dudley Leitch and his wife and co-director Karen plan to hold a large clearing sale at Millmerran on October 23 on their property, ‘Cariswoode’ at Bringalily.

The sale includes a range of tractors and farm machinery and follows an online auction of part of their Dorper sheep flock in June.

Mr Leitch said the Millmerran sale was needed to generate cash flow to purchase lambs in the coming months and the equipment, from a number of his properties, was redundant since his decision to focus on sheep breeding.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is yet to finalise an investigation into allegations Leitch Pastoral Group companies connected with the Killarney and Pittsworth abattoirs traded while insolvent in 2009.

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