Saskatchewan Wheat Pool reviewing operations

by Emily Wilson
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REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN, CAN-ADA — The first phase of a comprehensive review of Saskatchewan Wheat Pool's operations is nearing completion, and a number of areas need strengthening if the cooperative is to retain its leadership position in western Canadian agriculture, said Mayo Schmidt, c.e.o. of SWP, Canada's largest publicly traded agri-business cooperative.

New competition, industry-wide consolidation, the deregulation of grain transportation and global trade issues will be the major drivers of change over the next two to three years, he said. With grain prices near 25-year lows and handling volumes well below the 10-year average, the Pool's recent financial performance has suffered along with the rest of the industry's, he said.

"Fundamentally, the company is strong but we recognize improvements are needed in some areas and we intend to move quickly to implement changes," Mr. Schmidt said. "There are opportunities to reduce costs, streamline operations and improve the earnings of specific businesses. We intend to shift our emphasis from capital-intensive investments to the development of stronger alliances and strategic supply arrangements with destination customers.''