Heffernan: 'temptation' in CBH bid

25 Feb, 2016 01:00 AM

NSW Liberal Senator and Junee grain farmer Bill Heffernan said he was not about to tell CBH shareholders “what they can and can’t do” in voting to publicly list the farm-owned co-operative “but you can see the temptation”.

Senator Heffernan said the AGC corporatisation offer to CBH grower-shareholders was the same dilemma as that facing Sunrice in NSW.

“You will note, if you go through the press, that for some years I’ve been quoted as saying CBH will probably, inevitably corporatise,” he said.

“CBH has been a very successful, gilt-edged example of a successful co-op and the profits do go back to the growers.

“But eventually the directors will want to get a quid out of the co-op and commercialise it and the shareholders will decide to give the farm to the boys and the shares to the daughters.

“I can understand if you have shares in the co-op worth $1 million and the daughter needs a house, there’s a temptation to float it.

“If you have a successful co-op like CBH or SunRice as you get older you start to think ‘I’ve got to buy a house in a retirement village or down the coast or something and it’d be nice to cash out my shares’ and that’s always the temptation.”

Colin Bettles

Colin Bettles

is the national political writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first


Jock Munro
25/02/2016 3:21:38 AM

Bill Heffernan the so called 'bush champion 'comes out in support of powerful interests just as he did in the wheat export single desk debate. This comes as no surprise. Once again Barnaby Joyce has proven to be the true friend of the producer by warning that WA growers will sell off CBH at their peril and not to come crying to him when the whole thing goes pear shaped.
25/02/2016 4:58:39 AM

If the good senator had as much insight as he claims to have he would be warning of the real consequences of corporatisation. And what are they?......duplication of Infrastucture ,loss of equity in the handling chain , development of local monopolies , increased handling and marketing costs, more risk for producers, the list goes on and it's all happening here in the eastern states. The only reason GrainCorp/ ADM and other foreign entities are interested in cbh is because of the opportunity to rip producers off. Be careful what you wish for sandgropers
25/02/2016 8:01:11 AM

Once the shares are in the hands of growers and the realisation of this company's potential is realised, the last people selling shares will be farmers. I'll be betting many farmers actually increase their holdings in CBH once listed because this is the once in a lifetime 2nd Wesfarmers, a company many of the original farmers still hold. Graincorp on the other hand was sold out by short term profiteers like Munro and Mark2, now lamenting their most unwise business decision. Eggs are best eaten cooked boys.
Jock Munro
25/02/2016 1:35:26 PM

Rather dereg Graincorp turned the system into a shareholders milking cow whilst they ran it down leveraged it to buy into other operations. Thinking that a shareholding company that can gouge the grower is better than a structure that is all about the profitability of growers is simply delusional. And dereg please tell us what more could CBH be doing for growers? Barnaby Joyce has warned WA producers and he told them not to coming wailing to him on the morning after.
26/02/2016 3:36:01 PM

I'd wondered where you went D8, as it happens I didn't own any GrainCorp shares as usual you're caught making claims that have no basis in fact. In my observations, it was mostly mismanagement and greed by management that drove grower shareholders to sell, apart from some very lean years. The other thing that stuffed any notion that GrainCorp was a grower company was the introduction of the institutional shareholders and the sellout by the directors of the company of their own large share holdings . Growers never really had a chance......your shot, d8


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