ADM promises cash splash
ARCHER Daniels Midland (ADM) is promising to establish a grower-based advisory panel to provide GrainCorp management with feedback and ideas from the grainbelt if it wins control of the big Australian grain business.
US-based ADM has also opened its cheque book this week as it ramps up efforts to win farmer support for its $3.4 billion takeover bid.
It's offering to give $1 million a year to rural community charity projects and establish a scholarship program to help 15 agricultural science students every year.
It's also promising to pump an extra $50m more into capital improvements to GrainCorp's country silos, ports and freight network.
That's on top of $250m already budgeted by its takeover target for strategic upgrades during the next three years.
ADM grains division president Ian Pinner also expects to be able to find operating efficiencies that allow him to commit $40m to $60m or more in annual improvements and maintenance to existing infrastructure assets.
In a renewed effort to hose down widespread unease about the food and farm commodity giant's potential control of 80 per cent of Queensland, NSW and Victorian grain export sites ADM has freshened up its assurances to the farm sector.
Mr Pinner emphasised the multinational giant would also maintain full and open access to traders and exporters at country sites and ports if its $3.4 billion bid was approved by government regulators and GrainCorp shareholders.
He has also flagged the prospect of GrainCorp returning to the fertiliser supply business, via ADM global fertiliser trade links.
But despite reiterating plans to promote Australian grain quality to the world and open the local grain trade to new markets serviced by ADM in 140 countries, Mr Pinner was also still deflecting industry concerns about a lack of grain stock transparency at GrainCorp's storages.
The transparency issue and ADM's potential powerful control of about 80pc of export sites in the three States are major concerns for the farm sector.
They are also key topics to be explored by a federal Senate inquiry into foreign ownership of the supply chain which will provide recommendations to the the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).