Elders to advise

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
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Elders is aiming to build its reputation in the advisory field, as overseas and local investors clamber to secure farming and food production assets.

But Elders boss Mark Allison said the company had "a little way to go".

"The Elders brand may open the door, but we have to prove ourselves," he said.

A lot of the demand for investment advice is from China, where Elders has boosted its presence in Shanghai.

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Elders aims to improve the performance of its financial services and real estate divisions through a management shake-up.

It announced a net profit of $38.3 million for 2014-15 - up from $3 million in 2013-14.

Net debt, which topped more than $250 million only a few years ago as Elders battled for survival, is down to zero.

Elders, a dominant force in livestock, has backed away from plans to form a partnership with a major grains marketer.

It intends to leverage its rural network to accumulate grain customers and is rolling out a platform to offer growers a host of prices and options.

The 176-year-old company has put plans for a cattle feedlot in Vietnam on hold, describing it as a flooded market for live exports.

Mr Allison said Elders was ready to look at acquisitions in divisions of the business with the highest return on capital, including agency products, livestock, wool and real estate.

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