Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


Farm Online News
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A quick look at some of the moves making news in the agribusiness sector in the past week

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AWN-StockCo finance deal

Independent wool marketer, Australian Wool Network (AWN), has teamed up with rural financier, StockCo, to offer customers strategic livestock funding options.

The distribution agreement will let AWN’s broking and selling services team provide short-term livestock funding to its producer base.

“We were attracted to the flexibility StockCo’s livestock funding facilities can provide, especially for clients in need of seasonal funding to help grow their livestock operation,” said AWN’s chief operating officer, Rick Maybury.

AWN and its West Australian subsidiary, Dyson Jones, sell 275,000-plus wool bales for 8000 woolgrowers Australia-wide.

StockCo’s facilities assist financing of livestock purchases for backgrounding, finishing or trading, with the lender mostly only taking direct security over the livestock being purchased.

It funds 100 per cent of the purchase price, only requiring repayment and accrued finance charges once livestock sells.

Lewis grows his AACo stake

The Australian Agricultural Company’s (AACo) major shareholder, the Bahamas-based AA Trust, has increased its ownership stake in the big beef business to about 42.5 per cent.

The AA Trust represents the investment interests of British-born businessman, Joe Lewis, whose Tavistock Group representative on the AACo board, Shehan Dissanayake, became an executive director and part of its management leadership team in April.

Board director, Neil Reisman, is also aligned with Tavistock, which has increased its voting power on the AACo share register from about 40pc six months ago.

The large-scale beef production, processing and marketing company is currently in the process of finding a chief executive officer to replace Jason Strong who resigned from the role in August.

Nufarm shares on offer

Crop chemical company, Nufarm, has raised $338 million from a share entitlement offer to institutional investors and has now opened its rights offer to retail shareholders.

The Melbourne-based manufacturer is looking to raise a further $108m via its offer of two shares for every nine held by existing eligible shareholders for a discount price of $7.50 a share.

The share offer follows Nufarm confirming last week it had bought the Century Products crop protection portfolio of Adama Agricultural Solutions in Europe and was expecting to announce further acquisitions in the near future.

The retail shareholder offer closes on November 15.

Managing director, Greg Hunt, said the institutional bookbuild, which saw about 95 per cent of available shares taken up, had been an excellent result and a clear endorsement of the value investors could see in Nufarm’s future in Europe.

Urea prices creep up

Norwegian-based nitrogen fertiliser giant, Yara International, has pointed to rising urea prices in the wake of Chinese manufacturing cost increases and plant shutdowns.

Although Yara expected the market to continue to be fundamentally supply-driven for some time, a global oversupply of urea was levelling out as Chinese exports declined.

The world's biggest nitrogen fertiliser producer noted the key Egyptian export market price for urea averaged $US234 a tonne from July to September, or about 21pc higher than the same period last year."

At the end of September prices hit two-year highs, around $US300 a tonne, largely because of higher export costs from China.

Yarra said rising coal costs in China had, in turn, increased nitrogen production costs and forced a curtailment in production output, cutting Chinese urea exports by 45pc to 5.4m tonnes in the year to August.

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