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S'pore abalone producer fires China team

Publication Date : 01-02-2014


Singapore-based abalone producer Oceanus Group has fired the management of its China farms after discovering unnatural abalone deaths there in August last year.

It told the Singapore Exchange (SGX) recently it had removed the general manager of its Chinese subsidiary, Wu Yongshou.

Oceanus also replaced the rest of the senior management team in China, comprising 17 farm managers and nine key management personnel.

The move would give it "a much stronger grip" on its Chinese operations, it said.

This step would also ensure the group is led by a "more accountable... transparent, cohesive and compliant" team that takes an "evidence-based approach" to farming, Oceanus said.

The removal of Wu as general manager came after "substantial and abnormal" deaths of abalone at the company's China farms that Oceanus said occurred within a very short span of time.

The company told SGX last August that the unusual deaths began the day after the company's annual general meeting, at which Wu had been forced out of his executive director board seat.

He had stood for re-election at the meeting on July 31 last year, but the motion was defeated by a 95.51 per cent majority of shareholders present and voting.

However, Wu had still kept his role as the general manager of Oceanus (China) Aquaculture, which is tasked with managing the company's overall production and operations in China.

"(Wu) became increasingly uncooperative towards the reconstituted board ever since he was not re-elected as a director of the company," Oceanus said then.

However, its statement did not link the reports of abalone deaths with Wu's departure from the board, except to say they had happened at around the same time.

Oceanus said recently that with the new senior management team "in full and direct control" of its Chinese operations, it was now looking to hire highly experienced senior farm managers.

This would be in line with its "strategic focus on providing strong managerial support to the group's future growth by the injection of new talents", it said.

Its livestock will also get some fresh blood: Oceanus said it hopes to buy good-quality breeder abalones from Japan to add to the genetic pool.

It also said it plans to relocate most of its land-based abalone farming and breeding activities to China's Fujian province, rather than having farms scattered across different provinces.

It is thus "actively exploring" leasing out unused farming assets or using them to diversify into new aquaculture products in joint ventures with other local and international aquaculture companies.


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