Moon Lake restructure concerns

Resignation. A disagreement over management of local farms has seen several board members step down from Moon Lake Investments.

The news that all non-executive directors have resigned and VDL Farms chief executive officer Evan Rolley will not extend his contract beyond the end of June was made public on Tuesday afternoon.

Speaking on behalf of the departing group, outgoing deputy chair David Crean said the board members were concerned that proper governance arrangements were not being considered in a restructure of the company’s interests by sole owner and Moon Lake chairman, Xianfeng Lu.

“The non-executive directors of the board had particular issues with the restructure arrangements relating to the running of the 24 VDL farms in north west Tasmania,” Dr Crean said.

“The board, being responsible for overseeing the commercial and prudential operations of the VDL farms, could not convince the owner to adopt their recommendations on future management of the business.”

The group includes Keith Sutton, Rob Poole, Bruce Donnison and Simon Lyons.

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The Foreign Investment Review Board has approved the corporate restructure of Moon Lake to Chinese Ningbo Xianfeng New Material Co Ltd (APlus), which is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

Chairman Mr Lu said it will be business as usual on the north west dairy properties with no loss of jobs.

“As part of the restructure, an Australian holding company will be set up to coordinate the Australian operations and to ensure alignment with overall strategic goals,” he said.

“Moon Lake and its sister company Van Dairy will be moved under control of the new holding company.”

Mr Lu said the strategic goal for the group is to become a fully vertically integrated dairy business with quality products sold both internationally and domestically. He said the restructure would provide greater access to capital for investment beyond the farmgates, mainly in the production of new value-added dairy products in Australia.

The board of the new holding company will appoint a new CEO for the group and a general manager for VDL Farms.

Mr Lu said he appreciated the significant contribution made by the current board and CEO, who had provided stability during and post purchase of the farms.

Earlier this month Moon Lake announced that Van Dairy would commence export of organic UHT milk and yoghurt to China by mid year.

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