Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


What's been happening in agribusiness? Here's a quick look at some of the events and people making news.


United Malt goes solo

GrainCorp's former malt division is now officially trading as an independent company, United Malt Group, after being admitted to the Australian Securities Exchange on Tuesday.

GrainCorp retains almost 254.3 million shares in the international malt business which is now officially run by former GrainCorp directors, Graham Bradley, Barbara Gibson, Simon Tregoning and Jane McAloon, plus chief executive officer Mark Palmquist.

New director Terry Williamson has also been appointed to United Malt and a new company secretary Lisa Jones has started in the role, replacing Annerly Squires and Stephanie Belton, who guided the division's demerger.

Back at GrainCorp, former deputy chairman Peter Richards is now in the chair, and new managing director, Robert Spurway has commenced work.

The former farmer-owned GrainCorp has established an information line which shareholders are urged to call if they require further details about the split and their automatic new shareholding in United.

  • Contact 1300 883034 or contact the specific website


Nufarm cuts Brazil ties

Brazil's General-Superintendent of the Administrative Council of Economic Defence has approved the sale of Nufarm's Brazilian division to Japanese conglomerate, Sumitomo.

The Australian farm chemical manufacturer expects the sale to be completed by April 1 and to net a gross purchase price of almost $1.2 billion.

Although the South American business made a strong contribution to Nufarms first six months' earnings in 2019-20, the company has anticipated a $10 million loss in earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation in the period to April 1.

Meanwhile, Nufarm has predicted it will pay interest of about $90m to $100m associated with the cost of its discontinued and ongoing business operations, including about $6m for increased financing costs relating to its new accounting standard AASB 16.

It has continued to anticipate first half EBITDA in the range of $55m to $65m.


Coronavirus business advice

Business Australia, a recently launched free membership-based organisation supporting more than 40,000 small to medium sized businesses, is urging owners and managers to get the necessary support to help them navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organisation says Australia's 2.2 million businesses should seek professional advice to get through the economic downturn.

It is offering free support to business owners and managers with a specific focus on navigating the COVID-19 crisis.

Information essential for owners and managers to understand their obligations as an employer is available via Business Australia's new free COVID-19 content hub.

Resources include a Business Guide to the Coronavirus; an Employer Toolkit including key advice and policies to help businesses manage their people and working from home arrangements, and Free access to a business grants finder to understand available financial support

"In a matter of weeks, business owners' have had their worlds turned upside down due to economic impact of COVID-19," said Business Australia chief customer experience officer Richard Spencer.

"It is inevitable we will see businesses severely impacted or close so we strongly encourage business owners and managers to seek professional advice to ensure they have a fighting chance of riding out the crisis."

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Warlters leads Rural Aid

Former agriculture head at Australian Community Media, John Warlters has taken over as chief executive officer of farmer support charity Rural Aid.

Mr Warlters (pictured), also a former editor of Queensland Country Life, was a standout leader according to Rural Aid chairman Alex Hutton.

"He brings to Rural Aid key strengths as a proven business manager and someone with a long history of engagement with all sectors of rural and regional Australia," he said.

"His empathy with primary producers and excellent relationships with the corporate sector will ensure Rural Aid continues to have a strong capacity to support people in need due to natural disasters."

He previously managed ACM's iconic brands such as The Land, Queensland Country Life, Stock and Land, Stock Journal, Farm Weekly and the North Queensland Register, along with Australia's largest agricultural field day, AgQuip in NSW and Farmfest in Queensland.

Rural Aid interim CEO Sarah Hunter remains a director after leaving the caretaker role this month, while co-founders, Charles and Tracy Alder, stay closely linked to the organisation which is well known for its 'Buy a Bale' campaign and financial assistance and counselling to farmers in times of drought, flood or fire.

Banking boss to Freedom

Dairy and cereals processor Freedom Foods Group has a new board director, Genevieve Gregor, the former managing director of investment giant, Goldman Sachs

Ms Gregor has more than 25 years experience in various investment commercial and finance roles in big name institutions such as Glencore, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs and was deputy chancellor of Western Sydney University.

She is one of the founding partners of the mid-market private equity fund Colinton Capital partners and on the board of Dimeo Cleaning Services.

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The story Agribusiness buzz in brief first appeared on Farm Online.


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