Former Fonterra Shareholder Council chairman Duncan Coull has been elected as the new chair for Fertiliser co-operative Ballance Agri-Nutrients.
The co-op says this takes the total rebate to farmers to $45/tonne, with a total distribution to shareholders this year of $54 million.
For year ended May 31 2017, Ballance’s gross trading result was up $22 million to $56.8 million. An average Ballance shareholder will receive a distribution of $4,500; the mid-winter boost in cash flow will average up to $8,000 for farmers using a high-value product mix, with individual payments of more than $100,000 to the largest farming interests.
Chairman, David Peacocke says there were significant efficiency gains in the business and increased demand for premium high-analysis products, while total sales across fertiliser, feed and the industrials portfolio were largely flat on last financial year at 1.62 million tonnes.
“Our cooperative rebounded from a tough prior year, with a very good result and distribution to shareholders along with a healthy balance sheet and strong cash flows.”
Continued financial discipline, and the strength of the cooperative’s balance sheet, is reflected in an equity ratio of 77.9%. Cash flow from operating activities was $83 million, compared with $35 million in the prior year. This allowed for the repayment of debt and resulted in a positive cash balance at year-end.
While revenue was 4% lower at $805 million, procurement savings in key fertiliser inputs, coupled with a record year of production at the Kapuni urea plant, enabled the cooperative to deliver value to farmers across the year together with an improved profit and distribution.
The Kapuni manufacturing plant’s return to full production saw it achieve record production of more than 277,000 tonnes, compared with a historical average of 260,000 tonnes.