Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


Business
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A quick look at some of the issues, people and events making news in agribusiness

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Capilano’s returns are buzzing 

Big Brisbane-base honey processor, Capilano, has reported a rise in revenue, but a fall in net operating profit before tax to $6 million for the first half of 2017-18.

The same period last year its pre-tax profit was $7.47m, attributed to a one-off $2m non-operating capital gain arising from the sale of beekeeping assets to its new joint-venture business, Medibee Apiaries.

With this year’s honey crop expected to be the largest in more than a decade, Capilano’s first-half result was a 10.8 per cent increase on the underlying operating profit performance achieved the previous year.

Revenue grew 5.7pc to $70.3m, thanks largely to domestic retail sales lifting 7pc to $59m.

Non-honey product sales grew 97pc to $5.05m.

Capilano’s inventory of premium Australian honey increased 1997 tonnes, which it says is sufficient to meet future demand and help expand export markets, while further reducing its need for imports.

The company said the first half was notable for improved production conditions in many areas due to spring and winter rain and favourable climatic conditions and aligned tree flowering patterns.

“Any suggestions we have suffering, unhealthy bees in Australia will be refuted by a large production this season of the highest quality of honey in the world, produced from commercial beekeepers,” said managing director Ben McKee.

Beston revamps Scorpio Foods

Beston Global Food Company (BFC) is closing and selling Scorpio Food’s Colac meat processing site after lifting its 40 per cent stake in the Paterson family’s Victorian business to full ownership.

Plant and equipment from Colac are being moved north to Scorpio’s Shepparton plant, where consolidation, upgrading and expansion works are planned.

A new general manager Luke Bramston has also been appointed at Scorpio Foods to replace the retiring Ian Paterson.

Beston Global Foods chief executive officer, Sean Ebert.

Beston Global Foods chief executive officer, Sean Ebert.

Mr Bramston was previously managing director of Cater Fair, a subsidiary of Top Cut Meats.

Adelaide-based BFC has converted previous  loans to Scorpio and injected additional capital in the operation in return for full equity.

The changes have doubled the cooking capacity of the business by utilising the available space at Shepparton where only about 30pc of the factory had previously been used.

Beston chief executive officer, Sean Ebert, said the transformational changes had already improved the financial viability of the smallgoods and portion cuts business and achieved a marked turnaround on its previous performance.

The company has also won a number of new contracts, including with Costco Australia which will stock the Yarra Valley brand in its stores.

Rural community funds

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) has awarded grants totalling $374,740 to 91 community groups around Australia.

The FRRR’s Small Grants for Rural Communities program enables not-for-profit community bodies in rural, regional and remote areas to access funding that supports locally-led projects.

“We had requests for a wide range of projects – from education and health, to social welfare, environmental projects, arts and cultural initiatives,” said chief executive officer, Natalie Egleton.

“There was also a focus on improving, or establishing, vital community infrastructure, which is at the core of sustainable, vibrant communities.

Among those localities to benefit this year is Beacon (population 200), north east of Perth in Western Australia, where the Beacon Progress Association received funds to enhance the community hall’s capacity to hold larger meetings, workshops, events, functions and fundraisers.

The grant money will go towards new tables, crockery, cutlery, outdoor gas heaters and a public address system.

“Beacon is a very small town, but the hall hosts events for groups of up to 150 people, despite only having equipment for 30 people,” Ms Engleton said.

Kingspan Rhino sales representative, Ron James, and his sidekick Jorja, at the Sungold Field Days in Victoria's Western District.

Kingspan Rhino sales representative, Ron James, and his sidekick Jorja, at the Sungold Field Days in Victoria's Western District.

Still a Rhino, with a new name

In tank sales circles, Ron James, is a well-known figure – particularly on the nation’s rural field day circuit –  respected as much for his knowledge as for his Lancashire Heeler companion, Jorja who is usually by his side.

He attends more than 30 field days a year in Victoria, South Australia, NSW and Queensland as a rural sales account manager for Kingspan Rhino.

His company is currently going through an an evolution likely to offer more opportunities to its customer base following Kingspan Environmental’s acquisition of the Rhino Tanks brand.

Fabricated in Australia, Kingspan Rhino rural water tanks are large capacity (up to 365,000 litres), steel-lined and carrying the highest structural wind rating in the market.

Kingspan Environmental has an 80-year background in water and energy solutions, including rainwater harvesting, waste water treatment and wind and solar building solutions.

Ron James travels 80,000 kilometres annually, spending about 200 nights away from home.

He says his biggest challenge at present is conveying to customers to the change of name from Rhino to Kingspan Rhino, and the fact that it’s business as usual.

“I haven’t seen any real differences apart from the corporate colours, which changed from red to blue,” he said.

The story Agribusiness buzz in brief first appeared on Farm Online.

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