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Ruralco poaches Elders cattle staff

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian

Ruralco appears to have poached seven senior Elders staff from the company's live cattle export management team to create a rival operation.

Seven senior Elders staff are understood to have quit yesterday to join Ruralco, a fierce rival in the rural services division which still has significant stake in Elders after a failed bid for the company.

Elders managing director Malcolm Jackman, who is in Jakarta with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, said the company would stabilise its business in the wake of the resignations and signalled a fight to ensure employment contacts were honoured.

Elders also this morning released a statement saying it was investigating discrepancies surrounding livestock valuations.

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"Elders announces that its senior group management and board have identified certain discrepancies and issues in relation to the reporting and recognition of livestock values in its live cattle export division," Elders said in a statement.

The company is still assessing the matter to determine any effect on the company's financial results for the year to September 30.

Currently, it does not believe the issue will have a material impact on the group's outlook for future financial periods.

Among those who have resigned is the general manager of the company's cattle export trading division.

Elders said the employees would work their notice periods to ensure an orderly transition to a new management team.

"The change in personnel provides Elders with an opportunity, in line with its recently implemented efficiency strategy, to reshape the broader trading business to better integrate it with the Elders rural services network," Elders chief executive Malcolm Jackman said.

Shares in Elders were off half a cent, or 4.55 per cent, to 10.5 cents at 11.55am.

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