CBH to reap golden trifecta

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
CBH to reap golden trifecta
Camera IconCBH to reap golden trifecta Credit: The West Australian

A golden grain run is set to reap CBH net profits of close to half-a-billion dollars in just three years as interest in the WA co-operative's next move hits overdrive.

CBH recorded a net profit of $131.7 million in 2013, the second biggest in its 80-year history and beaten only by a whopping $162.5 million it made the previous year after a then-record harvest of 15 million tonnes.

This season's monster harvest already stands at more than 15.8mt, putting CBH well on the way to a net profit of more than $165 million in 2014.

CBH chief executive Andy Crane said the board would consider its options for returning value to 4200 grower members, including increasing its investment footprint outside of WA.

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CBH pumped $155.2 million into capital expenditure and maintenance of its storage and handling network last year, increased grower rebates and cut rail freight rates.

Dr Crane said the success of the Interflour investment in South-East Asia showed the potential to create new income streams.

"Clearly the investment downstream in flour mills has been wise . . . returning additional value and allowing rebates on storage and handling fees," he said. "Considering that, it would be wise if the business made additional investments like that to do exactly the same thing. It is important we keep the business viable and at a competitive scale within the region."

Interflour, a joint venture involving Indonesian billionaire Antoni Salim, is growing rapidly and returned $8 million to CBH.

Dr Crane said CBH was being approached by parties presenting opportunities and offering support to fund growth.

CBH spent $8.1 million to bump up its stake in the Newcastle Agri-terminal to 18.9 per cent.

The 2013 annual report, sent to members this week, reveals details of the money paid to board members and top executives for the first time. Dr Crane received $1.23 million in 2013, including a base salary of $789,000 and performance bonuses of $375,000.

By comparison, former GrainCorp chief executive Alison Watkins received a base salary of $1.15 million in 2013, plus $808,000 in bonuses and other benefits in addition to share rights.

CBH chairman Neil Wandel was paid $180,000, deputy chairman Vern Dempster $104,000 and former deputy chairman Clancy Michael $106,000.

CBH salaries and remuneration packages are benchmarked against others in the industry.

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