Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics, one of Australia’s largest trucking companies, has gone into receivership, putting 1,500 jobs at risk and jeopardising the delivery of food supplies to major supermarkets, including Woolworths, Coles, IGA and Aldi.
The company has engaged in high-level talks with grocery executives about its collapse. Its trucks will keep delivering food to supermarkets for now, but supplies could be put at risk if a rescue deal cannot be made. It is hoped a buyer can be found for the business, which has 24 cold storage warehouses in all mainland states. Supermarkets are closely engaged in the process to keep stock flowing.
Supply chain disruptions from pandemic-fuelled labour shortages and wild weather have been key drivers of grocery inflation as well as stock shortages. It is expected that Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics’ collapse will be one of many this year as the Reserve Bank’s nine consecutive interest rate hikes begin to bite.
Private equity firm Anchorage Capital Partners bought the company in mid-2020 from ASX-listed car dealer AP Eagers. Soon after Anchorage engaged McGrathNicol, Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics’ secured creditors appointed Melbourne-based insolvency firm KordaMentha as receivers.
KordaMentha’s Scott Langdon said an “orderly sales process” for Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics would begin immediately. “We anticipate a high level of interest in this business and its assets, given its significance in the cold chain supply system in Australia,” he said.
Coles CEO Steve Cain said the company was working with its suppliers and state and federal governments to “improve food supply chain resilience for all Australians”. “Many of our suppliers are still facing increasing cost pressures and shortages of pallets, raw materials and labour,” Cain said.