The Australian Agricultural Company says it now expects construction of its Darwin Abattoir to be completed in the second half of next year, after the company’s board gave the project final approval at a meeting in Brisbane today.
In a presentation to the company’s annual general meeting, AACo chairman Donald McGauchie said global opportunities reinforced the company’s strategy of moving from a pure producer to a vertically integrated processor and marketer.
The Darwin abattoir would play a critical role in realising those opportunities, by allowing AACo to capture global beef prices, which have been consistently higher than domestic beef prices.
Evidence of reduced domestic prices was borne out in the company’s trading figures for the quarter to June 30, during which time dry conditions have continued to worsen across much of company’s northern geographic footprint.
An operational update presented at today’s AGM showed AACo sold 99,654 in the quarter ended June 30, just over 30,000 head more than in the same period of last year.
However, the average price received for cattle sales in the quarter was $676 per head, compared to an average price of $967 in the corresponding quarter of the previous year.
That meant, despite selling far more cattle, AA Co’s total revenue for the period from cattle sales was $63.3 million, down by $3m on $66.3m earned from the sale of 68,860 head one year earlier.
Mr McGauchie reiterated earlier statements that the board was considering another possible capital raising process as one option to strengthen its balance sheet.
New skills would be required to lead the company into its next phase, with the search for a new chief executive officer to replace David Farley now underway.
- More details later following today’s AGM
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