AWB acquires Wesfarmers' Landmark rural services

by Emily Buckley
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA — AWB Limited acquired Wesfarmers Landmark Limited for a net purchase of A$718 million (U.S.$461 million). Within a week, AWB announced it had successfully raised capital after issuing 41.1 million shares on institutional placement for a total value of A$152 million, with a final share price of A$3.70. AWB will also give existing shareholders, who are mainly Australian wheat growers, the opportunity to increase their shareholdings with a Share Purchase Plan (SPP) at the lower of institutional price of $3.70 per share.

"The acquisition of Landmark will enable AWB to diversify its earnings base, while strengthening the competitive position of Australia’s agricultural produce in world markets," said AWB Chairman Brendan Stewart. "AWB’s expansion in rural and regional Australia will complement our core wheat focus, the single desk, and provide a strong platform for further growth, particularly in financial services."

AWB officials also announced that the company would not proceed with the application presently before the Australian government to raise its shareholding in Futuris Corporation Funding Limited above 15%.

Landmark is Australia’s largest distributor of merchandise and fertilizer products in Australia, which it sells to more than 100,000 customers through its national distribution network. Landmark also provides a broad range of other products and services, including the marketing and sale of livestock and wool products and the provision of agronomy, insurance, real estate and financial services.