Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief

News
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A quick check around the grounds at what some of the players are doing in agribusiness

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Buderim may quit ginger

Queensland ginger and macadamia processing business Buderim Group is considering an $8.3 million offer to sell its historic ginger division to one of its major shareholders, George Vasili's Global Foods Group.

If the demerger goes ahead Buderim will concentrate on branded macadamia products and other plant protein markets, also changing its name to Health and Plant Protein Limited.

The sale would include Buderim's renown Ginger Factory and farm tourism business and its Frespac subsidiary, including business in Fiji.

Buderim Group, which began as the Ginger Growers Co-operative in 1941, is now a major ginger producer and marketer of confectionery ginger worldwide, but shareholders have been told the division has only just returned to profitability and needs "significant capital investment to continue its proud and long history".

"We believe by separating the macadamia and ginger businesses there is a better future for both organisations," said chairman, Guy Cowan.

There was no certainty any agreement would be reached and the Global Foods bid was non-binding and subject to buyer due diligence.

George Vasili holds about 16 per cent of publicly listed Buderim's shares.

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Primewest buys into ag

Up and coming agricultural land investor, Primewest has paid $10 million to buy the horticultural property management business GoFarm Asset Management which runs the ASX-listed Vitalharvest Freehold Trust.

The Vitalharvest managed real estate investment trust's agricultural properties include about $275m of citrus and berry farms leased to the Costa Group.

As part of the deal, Primewest has also paid $19.2m to buy almost 12 per cent in Vitalharvest to become the company's largest shareholder, and has first refusal over a further 6.2pc.

The purchase was intended to give Primewest greater exposure to "real, working agricultural properties".

Primewest also wants to rename Vitalharvest as the Primewest Agri-chain Fund, growing the trust's asset base with investment in more farms and agricultural logistics assets.

GoFarm's asset management business was jointly owned by Antony and Robert Costa and GoFarm managing director Liam Lenaghan, but does not include GoFarm's main farm development and management activities.

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UMG offer oversubscribed

United Malt Group has completed its $30.6m share purchase offer to shareholders after double the required funds were offered to secure shares at $3.80 each.

The share purchase offer followed a similar $140m capital raising from institutional investors at the same price.

Initially the company, which broke away from GrainCorp early this year, was seeking only $25m but received applications for almost $63m worth of shares from 3273 shareholders, or about 25 per cent of eligible buyers.

Share allocations were scaled back on a pro rata basis and about 8 million new shares are due to begin trading on June 30.

"We are pleased with the very strong support we have received and will be using the funds raise to ensure United Malt's balance sheet remains strong and positions us well to execute our strategy," said managing director Mark Palmquist.

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Cannabis share offer

THC Global Group has completed a $6.6 million placement offered to institutional and sophisticated investors at 30 cents a share, issuing 22m new shares.

The hemp grower and pharmaceutical products company received strong demand from investors with a a long term view of THC's focus on cannabis products.

Chief executive officer Ken Charteris said Queensland-based THC Global now had a stronger share register with better institutional representation, and a stronger balance sheet to help scaling up cannabis pharmaceutical operations.

The company is also offering all eligible shareholders in Australia and New Zealand the chance to apply for up to $30,000 of new shares at the same price.

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Tom Bottrell (WACFL), Murray McCartney (BASF), Stephen Wright (Nutrien), Glen Metherell (Burley)

Tom Bottrell (WACFL), Murray McCartney (BASF), Stephen Wright (Nutrien), Glen Metherell (Burley)

Footy goals for BASF, Nutrien

Farm chemical and crop genetics company BASF and agricultural supplies business Nutrien Ag Solutions have joined forces to support local football clubs in Western Australia, buying 500 premium Burley footballs for 89 WA Country Football Clubs.

As a major retailer of BASF's agricultural products, Nutrien said the companies said they wanted to give back to the communities they operated in.

"We understand funding at country footy clubs can be tough at the best of times and 2020 has made things monumentally harder," said Nutrien's western region manager, Andrew Duperouzel.

WAFC's country football and facilities manager, Tom Bottrell, said the balls, a significan cost to clubs, would go a long way in providing the clubs with a much needed boost.

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AACo marketing chief

Australian Agricultural Company Limited has appointed Rose Scott to start work as chief marketing officer in July.

"Rose has two decades of experience marketing premium brands and consumer products in Australia and internationally," said managing director Hugh Killen.

"That expertise will be invaluable during our pivot back into food service out of the current slowdown, while still maintaining a strong international retail presence.

"She will work closely with our chief commercial officer Andrew O'Brien who joined AACo around 19 months ago and has helped drive significant sales growth over that time."

Mr Killen said the chief marketing officer's position was critical to AACo's long term branded beef strategy

"The annual results that we recently announced showed the significant progress that we have made in our strategy - a testament to the strength of the board and the executive team already in place."

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Easier currency conversions

People using foreign currency conversion (FX) services now have greater access to accurate online calculators to compare prices, but greater transparency is still needed at a time when many Australians are sending money to family and friends overseas says the national competition regulator.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's foreign currency exchange services inquiry report last year found many consumers paid too much for FX services.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims noted "shopping around could save Australian consumers hundreds of millions of dollars each year".

The report found for just two currencies, US dollars and UK pounds, individual consumers relying on the big four banks to send international money transfers (IMTs) could have collectively saved about $150 million in 2017-18 if they had instead used a lower priced IMT supplier.

One major issue the report identified was many online calculators available to consumers to calculate foreign currency conversions did not include the full price of FX transactions, including fees.

Some suppliers did not even make an online calculator available to consumers looking to find price information.

Following the ACCC's intervention and subsequent review this year, more than half of the 26 prominent online FX suppliers now have online calculators on their website or improved their existing calculators.

"We do want all foreign currency service providers, not just some, to lift their game so consumers can benefit from greater price transparency and ultimately competition," Mr Sims said.

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