CBH Group, Australia's largest grain handler, paid a record
rebate to its farmer-members, after a bin-busting harvest.
CBH reported a pre-rebate surplus of A$110.2m, up 10.6% year
on year, after taking in a record volume of grain Western Australia.
The high volumes are good news for farmers, who will get a record
rebate from the co-operative, injecting money back into the Australian farming
The higher returns allowed CHB to increase the rebate it
pays to its grower members to a record A$62.7m, up from A$16.9m paid last year.
Due to the higher rebate, CBH's net profits were cut to
A$49.8m, down 66% year-on-year.
The booming profits reflect the surprisingly large size of
the Western Australian harvest.
Frosts in August and September prompted CBH to forecast the
size of the total grain harvest at 13-14m tonnes.
But the crop beat expectations, and by a wide margin, with
more than 16m tonnes of grain delivered to CBH as of the end of last month.
CBH's operations unit was boosted by the large crop,
delivering an A$100.9m surplus before the rebates were paid out.
The co-operative has made additional investments in its
grain handling infrastructure, adding 800,000 tonnes of storage capacity.
And the co-operatives marketing and trading business swing
back into profit, despite lower grain prices, thanks to the high volumes.
CBH boss Andrew Crane was upbeat on rebate prospects in
coming years, saying that the company has enough capital to run its business,
and would be able to return surpluses to its members.
A steady flow of rebates will reward the co-operative's
members, who shrugged off a A$1bn overture from a consortium backed by
GrainCorp last year.
The consortium abandoned a takeover bid last September, due
to lack of interest from members.