European agricultural commodities giant, Louis Dreyfus Company, is to quit its global dairy business by mid-year, but not its minority stake in the 18-month old South Australian Midfield processing plant in Penola.
The move is in line with the company’s three-year strategy to exit non-core areas and focus on its core businesses, notably investments in origination markets and expansion along the processing value chain.
Chief financial officer, Federico Cerisoli, said Louis Dreyfus Company’s (LDC) dairy business accounted for just one per cent of total revenue in 2018, but demanded substantial working capital resources.
“Following the exit, our only exposure to dairy will be a non-controlling stake in a dairy processing plant in Australia,” he said.
LDC entered the dairy business in 2009, originating from key suppliers in North America, Europe, Oceania and South America.
It processes delivers mainly milk powders, lactose and whey products through its Ecoval Dairy Trade business to markets, including Asia, Mexico, North America, the Middle East and Africa.
LDC has also sold its fertiliser and farm inputs and its metals platforms in the past 18 months, with Landmark buying the $160m Macrofertil Australia fertiliser business a year ago.
Earlybird registrations for this year’s national agricultural issues and forecast conference, Outlook 2019, close this week.
Among the key speakers at the March 5 and 6 conference in Canberra will be Hancock Agriculture chief executive officer and former Australian Meat Industry Council chairman, David Larkin, whose career has spanned developing his own vertically-integrated beef business Atron Enterprises and an executive role at Thomas Foods International.
Outlook 2019 will examine some tough choices to boost agricultural productivity and resilience, including the complex influences shaping world markets and demand for Australian commodities in the coming decade.
Also on the speakers’ list are KPMG’s food and agribusiness partner and former Murray Goulburn executive, Robert Poole; GoFarm Australia managing director, Liam Lenaghan, and Australian Farm Institute executive director, Richard Heath.
Creating opportunities with ag technology will be the focus of a session addressed by Jared Mondschein, a senior fellow and adviser at the University of Sydney’s US Studies Centre, who was previously, with Bloomberg in Washington, DC, specialising on cross-border tax issues.
Queensland’s Growcom chief advocate, Rachel Mackenzie, will become Berries Australia chief executive in February, replacing Alex Smith who has taken a new job.
Berries Australia chairman, Peter McPherson, said Ms Mackenzie had many years of experience in horticulture advocacy and a strong track record in project management and delivery.
She won the 2018 Women in Horticulture Award in recognition of her contribution to the sector.
The Australian Blueberry Growers Association, the Raspberry and Blackberries Association and Strawberries Australia Inc. united last year to form Berries Australia.
“The berry industry is moving into a new phase and we are excited to bring in an experienced advocate to ensure the $1.1 billion sector can meet its full potential,” Mr McPherson said.
Applicants have until March 15 to apply for the 2019 vintage of Australia’s grape and wine sector leadership development program, Future Leaders.
People with the skills and leadership drive to contribute to the future success of the sector are urged to apply.
Wine Australia senior research and development manager Jo Hargreaves, who is co-ordinating the 2019 program, said Future Leaders would guide participants on a personal leadership journey and ask them to consider opportunities and challenges facing the sector.
“We will also be calling on previous alumni and long-serving individuals in our sector to be mentors throughout the 2019 program, provide their wisdom and building greater networks for our community.”
Future Leaders is funded by Wine Australia and supported by Australian Vignerons and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia, offering up to 15 places for its 2019 intake.
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