SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — GrainCorp reported on May 15 that net profit for the first half of 2014 dropped 43% to A$50 million from A$88.2 million in the same period a year earlier due to a smaller grain harvest from Australia’s east coast. 

Earnings for the company’s Storage & Logistics business was affected by a below average carry-in and smaller crop, GrainCorp said. This translated to lower grain receivals and increased demand from domestic end-users, limiting the amount of grain available for export. The segment reported earnings of A$63 million compared to A$119 million last year.

“While the intense competition for a smaller crop also means that GrainCorp Marketing’s result was lower year-on-year, it is pleasing that this business has reported a positive result in an environment that has been extremely challenging,” said GrainCorp Executive Chairman and Interim Chief Executive Officer Don Taylor.

Taylor said it remained GrainCorp’s expectation that FY14 earnings would be heavily weighted to the first half as a result of the busy export program and low residual levels of grain in the network. As a result, the company was maintaining the full year earnings guidance it provided in February (EBITDA of A$275 - A$315 million and underlying net profit after tax of A$80-A$100 million).

“Looking further ahead, some good pre-planting rains have been recorded in many areas of our catchment with canola planting substantially underway in many areas and good starts for wheat and barley. However, it’s a long season and, as always, favorable conditions and good finishing rains will be critical to the delivery of a good crop in eastern Australia,” he said.

Taylor said the company’s search for a new CEO was progressing well, with an announcement expected in the middle of the calendar year, as previously indicated.