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Company update: Ridley Corporation

Animal feed and salt producer Ridley Corp is confident the worst is behind after recording a headline loss of AUS$39.5 million in 2008-09.

The result included one-off significant items - a non-cash loss of AUS$52.4 million on the sale of Ridley's 69% interest in Ridley Inc; and AUS$7.4 million from the impairment of Ridley AgriProducts' Supplements business, costs from relocating from Sydney to Melbourne, and costs from defending the takeover bid by GrainCorp.
 
Underlying profit was AUS$20.3 million - an increase of AUS$4.4 million, or 27.6%, over the corresponding period last year. However the company said that, after taking into account a number of factors, including lower finance costs from reduced debt, the effective outcome was an after-tax result of AUS$28.1 million.
 
Ridley says it is uniquely positioned to take advantage of consolidation opportunities in the animal feed sector.
 
"Whilst 2010 will largely focus on further improvement to our current businesses, we remain vigilant for opportunities that match our core competencies as a processor of value-added agricultural products," Ridley said in a statement.
 
More consolidation
"We expect to see more consolidation opportunities emerge in the animal feed sector in which Ridley is uniquely positioned to take full advantage."
 
The company said that since the end of the 2008/09 financial year, it had entered into a significant new contract with chicken supplier Inghams, which would result in the re-opening of Ridley's Clifton facility in southeast Queensland and growth in poultry volumes in South Australia.
 
The company said its Ridley AgriProducts stockfeed business was now far less exposed to seasonal and environmental fluctuations due to its focus on the intensive poultry, pig, dairy and aquafeed sectors.
 
Ridley said that in 2010, its Cheetham Salt business would complete a refinery refurbishment program and was expected to return to normal profitability levels.
 
But the full year benefit of the program would not be realised until the fiscal 2011 year.

Dick Ziggers

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