AWB commitment to protect pools

27 Oct, 1999 09:58 AM
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MANAGEMENT of the national pool remains at the heart of AWB Ltd and cannot be used to prop up B class shareholder revenue, according to WA regional manager Greg Harvey. In an address to members of the rural media last week, Mr Harvey sought to allay fears that growers' returns would be compromised by commitments to B class shareholders, declaring that the pools remained sacrosanct, and the core business of the company. "It is quite simply impossible that revenue from the export pools (which is managed by AWB International) can be transferred across to AWB Ltd," he said. "It is not allowed under our company constitution, and nor would it be allowed by the Government's Wheat Export Authority, which has the responsibility to oversee the single desk. "Any suggestions otherwise by industry representatives and commentators is simply wrong." While AWB intends to list on the stock exchange within the next 12 months, Mr Harvey said it was currently working towards developing a trading mechanism for B class shares. He said the reason behind the move was to ensure that growers who needed the equity, were not forced to take lower prices for the shares. Mr Harvey also flagged further changes and expansions within AWB, saying the development of AWB's working cash facility would be just the beginning in tailoring financial solutions for growers. "Now, I don't want to sound like a bank, which is exactly what we are not aiming to be," he said. "But we will be in a position in the future to offer growers more than just a market for their wheat." He said AWB would become more than just an exporter of bulk commodities, but a supplier of services, adding value to the grains industry. Mr Harvey also announced AWB would hold its first annual general meeting as a privatised entity in Perth on February 3 next year.

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