Sharp rise in Australian grain profits

by Emily Wilson
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Reflecting a large 2000 wheat crop and a focus on reducing costs, GrainCorp Ltd., the main grain handler in the Australian state of New South Wales, said its profits this fiscal year would be two-thirds larger than in the prior year.

GrainCorp. said its net earnings in the year should reach A$49.2 million ($28.9 million), compared with A$29.7 million in the previous year.

Tom Keener, managing director of GrainCorp, said, "It's a significant increase on last year, because of our focus on reducing service costs and our big grain crop."

At the same time, Vicgrain Ltd., which is in the process of merging with GrainCorp, reported a record profit. Allan McCallum, Vicgrain chairman, said that its earnings for the same fiscal year should total A$27.5 million, an outcome bolstered by handling 4.8 million tonnes of grain.

"We'll be looking at a merged business which should handle about 12 million tonnes of grain per year," he said.