CBH has cleared the first major hurdle in its bid to bring about the structural reform it craves to enhance its capacity to operate efficiently for the grains industry’s rapidly evolving future.
Last week, CBH directors voted overwhelmingly to support a conceptual business model designed to protect the co-operative’s core functions while giving its commercial interests the flexibility to operate successfully in an increasingly competitive global environment.
CBH developed the proposal following consultation with grower shareholders during the past two months and after discussions with its grower reference group, the Growers Advisory Council.
CBH chairman Tony Critch hailed the history making consultation process as a success.
He said it had helped pave the foundations for last week’s unanimous vote.
In August, Mr Critch and CBH chief executive officer Imre Mencshelyi embarked on a series of meetings with grower shareholders at 11 towns across the state including Wongan Hills, Merredin, Lake Grace and Katanning.
About 500 growers attended the meetings where they were consulted on CBH’s current direction and the industry’s future.
Opinions on the suitability of the company’s structure in view of current industry trends were also sought.
Mr Critch said growers had indicated their preferences for a business model which protected CBH’s core business functions, including storage and handling.
Growers also listed grain marketing as an area of high priority needing protection.
Mr Critch said the new structure would safeguard those structures and at the same time provide the organisation with the capacity to grow.
“WA growers made their views clear that they wish to see a strong CBH in the future and understand that some change is necessary to ensure we have the right structure to achieve this,” Mr Critch said.
He said the board had approved a model which was essentially derived from two of the four models presented to the growers during the August round of meetings.
The proposal would see the company split into two main divisions.
“We have kept the storage and handling sacred, on the left hand side, with all other assets placed under a separate heading on the right hand side that will be treated more as a commercial entity,” he said.
The commercial side of the business would be called Grains West and include AgraCorp and Grain Pool.