Freedom Foods sees another CFO depart troubled Australian dairy business – just-food.com

Freedom Foods' share remain suspended at its own request

Graham's departure marks another executive to leave the New South Wales business, which has been bogged down for almost a year investigating possible fraudulent activity in its accounts dating back to June, and more recently agreed a AUD200m (US$156.7m today) capital injection from its majority shareholder Arrovest, led by the Perich family, as part of a recapitalisation exercise.

Its share remain suspended on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) at Freedom Foods' request, and have not traded since last June. The company has repeatedly extended the suspension as it seeks to resolve the crisis at hand.

Freedom Foods producesconsumer-dairy products, dairy ingredientsand plant-based beverages. In December, the company announced the sale of its cereal and snacks division to local peerThe Arnott's Group, owned by US private-equity firm KKR, for AUD20m.

The financial saga at Freedom Foods resulted in the resignation of CEO Rory Macleod in June, the same month CFOCampbell Nicholas also quit the business, followed by vompany secretary Trevor Allen. Michael Perich is currently serving as interim chief executive.

Jose Lemoine, who stepped in as CFO when Nicholas departed, will now occupy the same executive position again with immediate effect.

"Ms. Lemoine has been working within the company's finance team since November 2020," Freedom Foods said in thefiling with the ASX. "The board of Freedom Foods Group thanks Ms. Graham for her service and commitment to the company and wishes her well in her future endeavours."

In January, Freedom Foods' chairman Perry Gunner noted in another ASX filing that the company was reviewing the potential disposal of its "Speciality Seafood" division, which would leave the business engaged in dairy and nutritionals and plant-based beverages.

Perich noted in the same document: "Wehave been reviewing every product line, every site, every sales channel and every market segment to ensure we are focused on those with the greatest potential. We are removing or repositioning products that are not delivering value and investing in the ones that are."

Those comments were issued on the back of Freedom Foods' financial results for the fiscal year to 30 June 2020, the most recent numbers. All of the company's 2019 accounts have been restated.

Revenue climbed 26% to AUD461.8m, but losses permeated the rest of the results. EBITDA was in the red to the tune of AUD96.7m, widening from the previous year's loss of AUD118.6m.

Net profit after tax was a loss of AUD174.5m, down from a corresponding loss of AUD145.8m. Net debt stood at AUD275.2m, up from AUD122m in the prior 12 months.

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Freedom Foods sees another CFO depart troubled Australian dairy business - just-food.com

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