A DIRECTOR of Australian Grains Champion (AGC), the company that wishes to dismantle the CBH co-operative and list it on the stock exchange, said co-operative members, not the CBH board, should make the decision on the company’s future.
Clancy Michael spoke after CBH chairman Wally Newman said the CBH board would require more information from AGC before it would call a member’s vote on the proposal.
“The overwhelming feedback we are getting is that growers want to see the proposal in full, assess its merits and vote on it, and they are highly capable of doing that,” Mr Michael said.
Mr Newman said he believed the request for further information was fair.
“We want to assess whether this proposal is in the best interest of WA grain growers, in good faith and with an open mind,” he said.
In particular, he said more clarity was required on plans for the CBH grain storage network and other platforms of the AGC proposal, such as a grower loyalty scheme and a five year growth plan.
“For the sake of growers we need to have some clarity on the long term storage, handling and transport charges beyond the proposed five year CPI cap on charges, will they go up dramatically after that point?” he queried.
Mr Michael said Mr Newman and the CBH board were not required to make a recommendation on the proposal, simply sign the process agreement to allow it to go to the next stage.
“There is a difference between the CBH board signing our process agreement and finalisation of our proposal,” he said.
He said for now, AGC wanted the CBH board to sign the process agreement, which was more about the mechanics of a path to a vote, setting out a timetable so CBH members got all the information on the plan necessary.
“The process includes due diligence and an Independent Expert’s Report, so growers will receive a detailed booklet of information regarding the proposal before they vote on it,” he said.
“The process agreement does not commit the CBH Board to supporting the proposal, so they should not delay in signing it.”
Mr Newman said as well as operational concerns, the board was also seeking answers on whether there would be guaranteed production sector involvement on a new board, and what proportion of the business would be owned by AGC’s major backers, GrainCorp and HRL Morrison.