30 Aug 2011

PGG Wrightson posts $30m loss

2:07 pm on 30 August 2011

Rural services firm PGG Wrightson has reported a loss of $30.7 million in the year to the end of June.

A year earlier it had made a $23.3 million profit.

One-off costs totaled $47 million and included an $18 million writedown at its wool business, and a near $10 million provision for potential penalties from a livestock deal.

Gross earnings fell 14% to $49.4 million. Debt fell 30% to $178 million.

PGG chairman Sir John Anderson says a stronger performance from its livestock and rural supplies businesses offset by a weaker result in its seeds and grains arm.

The firm is hoping rising farming confidence and expanding its seed business in South America and China will boost flagging earnings.

PGG Wrightson has a new majority owner, led by China's Agria and has been rejigging its business, shedding its management of farms in Uruguay, merino and finance arms, to concentrate on its high-value seeds, grains and nutrition business.

Looking ahead, PGG Wrightson chief executive George Gould says higher commodity prices and lower debt are prompting farmers to spend more, while its seeds business will benefit from the links with its Chinese owners.

The company also expects to increase returns from its livestock business this year.