A that supplied all the major supermarkets is being liquidated after a buyer couldn’t be found for the faltering business – with 1,500 staff now left in the lurch.
Sydney-based Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics – which is Australia’s largest cold-chain logistics operator – went into receivership on Monday with staff told on Friday afternoon they’d been made redundant.
Investment and consulting firm, KordaMentha, broke the news to staff that a buyer wasn’t found in time for the struggling company.
Scott’s now owes up to $50million in employee entitlements, reported, which will be funded by the government’s redundancy scheme.
Scott’s is a key mover of goods for Coles, Woolworths, , IGA, and Foodbank Australia.
The supermarket giants have immediately launched contingency plans to minimise any disruption to their customers.
Coles and Aldi who both made up around 18 per cent of Scott’s business – have arranged for other Trucking driver recruitment companies to transport their products.
Australia’s largest cold-chain logistics company Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics has gone into liquidation
The company’s fleet of 500 trucks and 24 cold storage warehouses will also be sold in the liquidation process.
It’s believed that Scott’s could have been sold prior to the collapse as a measure to keep afloat, with companies such as Lindsay Fox’s Linfox, ASX-listed Lindsay and Toll Global reportedly showing interest – but any potential sales fell through.
, global supply-chain disruptions, wild weather, worker shortages and the Reserve Bank’s nine consecutive interest rate hikes are understood to have weighed heavily on the business.
The Transport Workers’ Union says transport sector operators had been left to fend for themselves in a broken market.
‘Retailers are reaping the gains from razor-thin margins while operators and drivers collapse under the strain,’ National Secretary Michael Kaine said.
The TWU had hoped that the company would be sold to a ‘responsible’ buyer and workers would be prioritised in a deal.
The company has laid off around 1,500 workers and will have to sell its fleet of 500 trucks
Scott’s supplied to all major grocery stores across Australia, either directly or through other distributors
A spokesperson for Aldi said: ‘Our thoughts are with the employees directly impacted.
‘We are confident the high demand for talent in the logistics industry means the employability of Scott’s employees is extremely high.’
Aldi said they’d hoped the ‘challenges facing Scott’s could have been overcome, saving jobs and maintaining competition in the road freight Trucking industry‘.
‘Following the challenges presented this week from Scott’s Refrigerator Logistics, we have worked with our existing logistics partners to ensure the 3 per cent of Scott’s business managed for Aldi now transitions to other logistics partners,’ the spokesperson said.
‘As we transition the volume, we will work to minimise any impact to Aldi customers with regard to product availability, and to ensure continuity of product collection from our valued supplier partners.’
Last year Scott’s leveraged their fleet of trucks to take out nearly $100million worth of loans but it wasn’t enough to save the company.
Their most recent financial report, covering a 16-month period ending in June 2021 shows the company had turned over $542million, but had lost $7.3million.
Coles and Aldi – both of which made up around 18 per cent of Scott’s business – have triggered contingency plans to cover disruptions to their supply chain
Insolvency Australia, which produces the half-yearly Corporate Insolvency Index, says businesses are under strain.
‘We started 2023 just as we finished 2022, with rising interest rates, surging cost of living, labour and materials shortages and the tax office continuing its tougher debt collection stance,’ director Gareth Gammon said.
Coles said it was working to minimise the impact to consumers.
‘We are working quickly to transition to our other transport partners and are closely monitoring deliveries across our supply chain. We are working hard to minimise disruption for customers and our farmers and suppliers as deliveries ramp up,’ a spokesperson said.
Woolworths said it was working with supplies to ‘main continued product to our distribution centres’.