WA grain handler collapses

WA grain handler collapses

A major grain storage and handling business long considered a prime target for overseas interests looking for supply chain control in WA has fallen into the hands of receivers.

Tamma Grains owner Kim Packer said the business had been under pressure from banks for some time but stressed that all growers had been paid.

Despite the appointment of Ferrier Hodgson this month, Mr Packer said he remained in talks with overseas investors aimed at securing Tamma's future.

His preferred option is to bring in an equity partner to grow the family business founded in 1986.

"The Bunges of this world that we have spoken to and the Chinese companies we are working with, they know that," he said.

Mr Packer confirmed the family was selling farmland and that negotiations on other assets were at a delicate stage.

Tamma is based 45km east of Pingelly and draws grain from farmers in a 250km radius, including Yealering, Kondinin, Kulin, Hyden and Corrigin. It has storage capacity of more than 36,000t and operates a containerised grain shipping service.

Tamma worked as a storage and handling provider for Bunge as it launched shipments from a new grain terminal in Bunbury.

GrainCorp-owned Barrett Burston Malting also relies heavily on Tamma as a storage and handling provider.

If Mr Packer cannot seal a deal with an equity partner, Tamma will be put on the market in a rapidly changing storage and handling landscape.

Bunge has applied to build grain storage facilities near Arthur River (120,000t capacity) and near Kukerin (up to 150,000t capacity) to service its Bunbury terminal.