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Australian agribusiness remains stable in September

Figures show an increased value of 14 per cent for the AAG Agri-Index since July, largely due to the strong growth in the manufacturer sector. While the overall rate of growth has slowed during September, the Agri-Index remained steady with a two per cent increase for the month.

“We have witnessed significant turbulence in the Australian economy over the past 12 months, with changes in financial conditions affecting all markets," said AAG Director Tim Lee.

“Although agribusiness has not been immune to the flow-on effects of the global financial crisis and the fallout from recent events in the sector, overall performance has remained stable, which is good news for the industry and investors,” said Mr Lee.

According to the AAG Agri-Index, the recent collapse of Timbercorp and Great Southern continues to influence the market; however affected companies did experience some positives this month.

The top AAG Agri-Index performer for September was Select Harvests, which gained 71 per cent in value after the sale of Timbercorp’s almond orchards saw the company retain management rights until the end of the original contract. Select Harvests has already delivered a return of 122 per cent for the 2009/10 financial year to date.

Weaker conditions in the olive oil market saw the AAG Agri-Index tracked company, Frankland River Olive Company fall 44 per cent for the month and results were stronger for others in the sub-sector. Olea Australia increased its value by 25 per cent after selling its entire olive oil stock, and Redisland Australia saw olive oil production from orchards under management reach record highs.

Figures from the September Agri-Index also reflected market concerns toward recent capital raising in the sector, after Forest Enterprises and Montec International sought additional funds of $39.5 million and $620,000 respectively. Forest Enterprises closed 57 per cent lower for the month while Montec fell 50 per cent.

The market appeared to take notice of Elders recent announcement of annual losses of more than $415 million, with the rural services business closing 39 per cent lower on the September AAG Agri-Index.

“Consumer confidence continues to play a significant role in the performance of agribusiness companies, with concern regarding the financial standing of companies strongly reflected back on their market value,” Mr Lee said.

“On a wider scale, recent renewal in consumer confidence has helped improve performance across the broader financial market.

“We anticipate the agribusiness sector as a whole will remain stable in the coming months, and expect growth for the 2009/10 financial year will continue to be a slow and steady process,” he said.

by S. C.
07 october 2009, World News > Oceania