CBH Port of Albany_Photo courtesy CBH Group
The CBH Group exports wheat through its terminal at the western Australia Port of Albany.
Photo courtesy of CBH Group. 
WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — The CBH Group turned in a strong year during 2015-16 as net profit after tax totaled A$49.8 million on revenues of A$3.270.6 billion. This compared with net profit of A$82.7 million and revenue of A$3.720 billion in 2015.

CBH said it handled 13.6 million tonnes of grain during 2016 — the same as in 2015 — and invested A$132.4 million into capital and maintenance across its storage and handling network.

As part of its annual report issued Jan. 9, CBH offered details on its Network Strategy, which the cooperative expects to help deliver on its purpose of creating and returning value to growers.

CBH chairman Wally Newman
Wally Newman, CBH chairman.

“Over the past 12 months, we’ve commenced a Network Strategy that will see investment of A$750 million over the next five years, focused on the 100 sites that currently receive 90% of the annual average crop,” Wally Newman, chairman, noted in the annual report. “Our network is the core of your cooperative and the best way in which we can create and return value. The Network Strategy is aimed at ensuring we continue to deliver a cost-effective and efficient storage and handling service to growers and marketers for generations to come.”

Newman said another way CBH plans to create and return value is through growing the business through value-adding initiatives, mainly in grain processing.

As an example, he pointed to the cooperative’s investment in Interflour.

“Over the past year, Interflour has undertaken a number of projects, including construction of a new malting plant in Vietnam and a new flour mill in the Philippines,” Newman said.

The 500-tonne-per-day flour mill in the Philippines is expected to be completed early in 2017.

Newman also pointed to the new oat processing facility for Western Australia that was unveiled in June 2016. He said the facility builds on CBH’s acquisition of Blue Lake Milling Pty Ltd. (BLM), one of Australia’s largest suppliers of processed oats.

“Once complete, the new facility will make BLM the largest independent oat processor in the Australasian region and enable us to better service the increased demand for Australian oats from the Asian market,” he said. “Through such growth initiatives, CBH aims to remain globally competitive by capturing additional value for our growers.”

In March 2016, CBH’s board unanimously rejected a proposal from the AGC backed by GrainCorp to privatize the cooperative. The board said the proposal would destroy value for CBH grain grower members and their strategic network, and gives too much power to GrainCorp.

“The proposal highlighted what we’ve been well aware of and working on for a number of years now — that as CBH grows and external forces change, we need to continually adapt so we can do it smarter and be best placed to face challenges and capture future opportunities,” Newman said.