SLN Meat Supplies, Cambodia’s biggest cattle feedlot and abattoir, has momentarily suspended operations to restructure the business, alleging difficulties dealing with the kingdom’s “uncertain” tax system.
Hor Sin Leang, the slaughterhouse’s managing director, told Khmer Times yesterday that the company will suspend production for a brief interval, but hopes to resume operations by March next year.
“We need to revise our business plan. There are many things we have to re-examine, including taxes, the cattle, and our imports.
“We have lost about $8 million since the start of operations,” Mr Sin Leang lamented, adding that they have slaughtered about 3,000 cows since the company was founded.
“We cannot continue production as we just don’t have cattle to slaughter and we have more than 500 staff. We will keep 50 to 60 employers on the payroll just for maintenance of the abattoir while we work on a new business plan,” Mr Sin Leang said.
He said they are now reconsidering their strategy and drawing up a new business plan to smooth their operation.
“Under the new proposed business plan, we will be exporting cattle and we will increase our production and our investment,” Mr Sin Leang added.
The company has submitted a request to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) to consider cutting taxes on imported cattle, Mr Sin Leang said, adding that this will help the whole meat sector move forward.
He added that some countries levy no taxes on imported cattle. However, Cambodia, taxes abattoirs too much and the system is too confusing, he said.
Sen Sovann, director-general of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (MAFF) department of animal health and production, told Khmer Times the company is now on the lookout for new business partners to help them expand their investment.
He added that MAFF has forwarded the company’s request to slash taxes on imported cattle to MEF.
“We have intervened and sent the request to the Ministry of Economy to help SLN, as this abattoir is the biggest meat producer in the country,” Mr Sovann said.
SLN is the largest company in the Asean region producing Australian beef and it has already built a factory costing more than $30 million in Preah Sihanouk province.