Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief

SunRice chief executive officer, Rob Gordon, with Jan Cathcart’s sisters, Judy Johnston and Sue Naumann, flanking 2018 winner of the Jan Cathcart Scholarship, Annabel Arnold, and SunRice chairman, Laurie Arthur.

SunRice chief executive officer, Rob Gordon, with Jan Cathcart’s sisters, Judy Johnston and Sue Naumann, flanking 2018 winner of the Jan Cathcart Scholarship, Annabel Arnold, and SunRice chairman, Laurie Arthur.


A quick look at some of the players and issues making news in agribusiness.


SunRice Scholarship

SunRice has awarded Annabel Arnold from Berrigan in South West NSW the Jan Cathcart Memorial Scholarship, to support her Bachelor of Agriculture studies at the University of Melbourne.

Miss Arnold, daughter of Gill and Max Arnold, a second-generation rice grower, said growing up on her family’s farm had inspired her passion for a career in agriculture.

She hopes to use her degree and work experience with SunRice to be a part of the ongoing drive for effective water allocation for rice crops.

Valued at $10,000 a year for up to three years, the scholarship  supports women pursuing a career in agriculture.

Jan Cathcart worked in the rice industry for more than 43 years, commencing with the Rice Marketing Board in 1971 and joining SunRice’s grower services team in 1985.

Bank satisfaction lifts

Consumer research group, Roy Morgan, says despite negative publicity surrounding the newly initiated banking industry Royal Commission customer satisfaction with banks in the six months to January 2018 was at 81.2 per cent - up from 80.8pc in December.

This sits well above the long term average of 73.8pc calculated since 2001.

Big lenders, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and National Australia Bank (NAB) showed improved satisfaction of 0.5pc between December and January, while Westpac remained unchanged.

The CBA has maintained the highest satisfaction rating among the big four with 80.1pc, followed by the NAB (79.1pc).

Among the 10 largest consumer banks, Bendigo Bank retained the highest satisfaction rating in January with 88.4pc, followed by Bank of Queensland (85.8pc), ING (85.2pc), Bankwest (84.4pc), St George (83.3pc) and Suncorp Bank (81.9pc).

Lenders outside of the big four with improved satisfaction levels (up to 1,1pc) were Bankwest, ING and St George.

There were small declines in satisfaction with Bendigo Bank (down 0.4pc), Bank of Queensland (down 0.2pc) and Suncorp Bank (down 0.1pc).

Mortgage customers of the smaller banks continued to have higher satisfaction ratings than the big four.

Bendigo Bank remains the highest home-loan performer with 91.8pc satisfaction

Non-mortgage customers have the highest satisfaction among the big four.

Aussie wine head for China

Wine Australia has appointed experienced China hand, David Lucas, as its regional general manager for the burgeoning greater China market.

Chief executive officer, Andreas Clark, said Mr Lucas’ background was ideal to help the Australian wine sector grow and defend the greater China market.

“David has spent the past 20 years in Asia and has significant experience within the wine and spirits categories across North Asia,” Mr Clark said.

“David has undertaken multiple roles for ASC Fine Wines, one of the largest importers and distributors of Australian wines in China, including sales vice president.”

Bubs expands, at a loss

Infant formula youngster and specialist in goat dairy products, Bubs Australia, has posted a pre-tax loss of $3.8 million for the first half of 2017-18

The company says significant domestic growth in supermarkets and pharmacies, and through wholesale distribution channels, accounted for 82 per cent of first-half gross sales.

The expansion of domestic activity has been a priority before international expansion into China in the second half of the financial year.

Bubs, which produces goat and cows’ milk infant formula lines, including the CapriLac nutrition powder range, reported a 176pc lift in gross sales on the same period last year.

Chief executive officer, Nicholas Simms said the first half’s accelerating growth of Bubs’ domestic business was complemented by expanded  e-commerce distribution capacity for the China business with expanded product representation on NetEase, VIPshop and Kidswant and an agreement with

“The successful acquisition of NuLac Foods in December created further options for growth with Bubs to become Australia’s only vertically integrated producer of goat milk infant formula and capacity to meet demand with milking goats in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.


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