Australian Plant Proteins

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Our support is helping Australian Plant Proteins build Australia’s first plant protein extraction facility to take their sustainable products to the world.

Australian Plant Proteins is a Victoria-based business that processes, packages and distributes premium plant-based protein isolate powder, sourced from Australian-grown pulses and beans.

Brendan McKeegan is Co-Founder and Director of the EAT Group, the parent company to Australian Plant Proteins. As health and environmental concerns drive demand for plant-based protein products, Brendan says there is a strong and growing global demand for high-quality protein isolate.

But despite Australia being one of the largest producers of raw materials, there was no manufacturing facility to process protein isolates in the country.

“That’s when we founded Australian Plant Proteins and created a proprietary protein extraction process specifically for legumes and pulses,” said Brendan. “Our first step was to create a proof-of-concept pilot manufacturing facility, located on the outskirts of Melbourne to fine-tune our process and engage with customers.

“The next step was to secured private capital to build a large-scale processing facility in Horsham, Victoria, the heart of pulse growing country in Australia.”

The only missing piece was project finance, which commercial banks were unwilling to provide given the start-up nature of their business.

“Finance from Export Finance Australia helped us commercialise the business into the large-scale facility it is now,” added Brendan. “It can produce two and a half thousand tonnes of the protein isolate per annum – which we intend to expand to 6,000 tonnes within 12 months.”

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The flexibility to expand

Our Victorian SME Business Development team and our Transaction Management team supported Australian Plant Proteins through the loan application process, with extensive due diligence on both sides.

“Export Finance Australia developed a really good understanding of our technology and the market potential of the business, and also talked to some customers,” explained Brendan. “This helped them realise that this is really a great opportunity for Australia – particularly from an export perspective.”

Australian Plant Proteins secured a project finance facility at a competitive commercial rate. Brendan said the loan was critical to ensure they could maintain control of the new business.

“We have some really good equity partners, which we’ve balanced with debt – so we didn’t have to give away more equity than we wanted at the start-up phase,” he said.

“Finance from Export Finance Australia has given us a flexibility to expand, so we can then potentially bring on international capital partners and significantly grow the business.”

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“Finance from Export Finance Australia has given us a flexibility to expand, so we can then potentially bring on international capital partners and significantly grow the business.”

Brendan McKeegan
Co-Founder and Director of the EAT Group