In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange this afternoon, Elders has announced a re-defined strategy for the long term.
The company says it will focus on a move to become a "pure play" rural services business, based around its Australian Branch Network and International Trading businesses.
The move will see the company re-focus on its investment in growth in the core rural services business that had been the mainstay of its operations for nearly 175 years.
It will also divest its Futuris Auto division.
The statement said the turnaround in Elders’ rural services businesses continued and was enhanced by the recently announced reset of the corporate and back office functions.
"This decision will see us divest the Futuris Auto business sometime in the foreseeable future," Elders managing director and chief executive officer Malcolm Jackman said.
"Given the rapidly expanding international footprint of Futuris Auto and its growing global reputation as a highly regarded advanced manufacturer of automotive interior systems, it is an appropriate time for us to look at options for the business.
“With manufacturing operations in Australia, China, Thailand, USA and South Africa, the interests of customers, shareholders and staff will be best served by an owner focussed on the global Auto sector."
Greenhill Caliburn will be advising on strategic options and how best to maximize shareholder value.
Mr Jackman said that " The staged exit from the company's Forestry assets continues to progress at a satisfactory pace and this decision around the Company’s future strategic direction is another important step in the evolution of the business.
“Elders has a long history as a leading Australian and international rural services provider and re-focussing the business on rural services will maximise shareholder value and gain strong support from all key stakeholders.”
Elders director retires
In a seperate statement, Elders chair John Ballard announced that Rob Wylie has decided to retire from the Elders Limited Board with immediate effect. Mr Wylie has been a Board
member since November 2009.
Mr Ballard said: "Rob has been a member of the Board during a period of significant change and challenge for the Company. He has chaired the Board Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee since shortly after his appointment as a director.
"On behalf of shareholders, I would like to thank Rob for his contribution to the Company over the past 3 years."
Josephine Rozman, presently a member of the Company’s Board Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee and a Chartered Accountant, will assume the role of chair of that Committee. Ms Rozman is
at present also a Director of Wine Australia Corporation where she is Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee.