Victoria’s largest independent butcher, Tasman Market Fresh Meats Pty Ltd, has fallen into voluntary administration.
The company, which traded as Tasman Butchers, appointed administrators David McEvoy and Martin Ford of PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia last Friday.
An urgent sale process is now underway, while administrators said they would continue to trade the company’s network of 17 stores in Melbourne and regional Victoria in the interim.
However, according to a statement sent out to customers by Tasman Butchers on Tuesday night, stores in Rosebud and Bendigo have already been closed.
The butcher, known for its big box formats, has been operating for more than 30 years and employs around 150 full-time staff as well as a similar number of casual employees.
Administrator David McEvoy said he is confident a buyer will be found for the business.
“We intend to continue trading the majority of the store network, with a view to selling the business as a going concern. We are confident that there will be strong interest from prospective buyers and we hope to preserve jobs for the majority of the company’s employees,” he said in a statement provided to SmartCompany.
Tasman Butchers said there is already “strong interest” from prospective buyers.
“There is already strong interest from prospective buyers and the administrators hope to preserve jobs for the majority of the company’s employees,” the company said in an email to customers.
The first meeting of the company’s creditors will be held next Wednesday, September 19, with creditors asked to provide documentation ahead of the meeting.
Tasman Butchers is majority owned by Singapore-based private equity firm Equity Partners, which purchased its stake in August 2013 from businessman Joe Catalfamo.
Independent butchers have suffered from declining market share in recent years as major supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths step up their efforts in fresh food categories.
Roy Morgan research published in April found Coles and Woolworths now account for more than 50 cents of every dollar spent on fresh meat in Australia.
“Butchers and markets held around a third of Australia’s fresh meat market in 2010 however this share has now dropped to just under a quarter,” Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said of the research.
SmartCompany contacted Tasman Butchers but the company declined to comment on the administration process.
*This article was updated at 8:00am, on September 12, 2018.