GRAINCORP officials remain upbeat about the prospects of the Australian Grain Champions (AGC) bid to corporatise WA grains co-operative CBH in spite of the CBH board deciding not to put the matter to a member vote.
GrainCorp is a critical piece of the puzzle in the AGC deal, providing capital which will be used to pay out grower shareholders in CBH.
Managing director at GrainCorp Mark Palmquist said he did not think the AGC proposal was dead, in spite of CBH’s decision and data released by CBH showing members remained strongly in favour of retaining the co-operative structure.
“Things have been a bit quiet in Western Australia over the past month with growers focusing fully on planting this year’s crop, but we expect the issue to be back in the spotlight by the end of May when the crop is in,” he said.
Mr Palmquist said GrainCorp still thought the proposal was a positive for Australian agriculture.-
“Anything that can be a positive for the industry we feel we should try and participate in it,” he said.
He said GrainCorp investment in CBH could help create an Australian grain exporter with access to key production zones in both eastern and western Australia.
“It would mean there was an Australian grains business that really has that full scale and is competitive on the world stage.”
“Australia is important on the international wheat front and anything that can drive efficiencies here needs to be looked at.”
However, he all but ruled out GrainCorp going it alone in terms of a push for WA expansion should the AGC proposal fail.
“We’re concentrating on the AGC plan at present, we feel it is the best path forward and would very much like to see it successful.”
Mr Palmquist said GrainCorp already participated in the WA grain market and said his company had a good working relationship with CBH.
“We’ve got long term agreements in place with CBH and work together well, we’d much rather find ways to work collectively rather than go up against them.”