Three years ago Michael Chaney’s Wesfarmers sold its Landmark pastoral agency business to AWB for $825 million. That’s about what the entire company is now worth.
Effectively, the board and management of AWB has destroyed all the value in the company they were given by the Federal Government in 1999. Nice work, boys.
OK, I’m being a little harsh on the valuation. Depending on how AWB’s battered share price is travelling on the day, it is sometimes worth more than the Landmark acquisition.
Today, for example, it started out with a market capitalisation of about $900 million. But you get the drift.
Senator Heffernan told a Senate Estimates hearing yesterday that ill-feeling over AWB’s monopoly control of the wheat market had been further fuelled by the drought. “It’d be the same sense of betrayal for some wheat growers that you would have if you discovered the parish priest was interfering with your kids,” he said.
Senator Heffernan, a farmer from NSW, said AWB was further hurting farmers who were trying to buy grain back to feed their starving stock but were having to pay more than they sold it for.
Meanwhile the Wheat Export Authority is wondering if there’s any point hiring a new CEO while awaiting the fallout from the Cole inquiry.
WEA chairman Tim Besley said he was in a dilemma about replacing Glen Taylor while waiting for the Cole report. “I think we all recognise that life won’t be the same after Cole,” he said, but “we had to take some action to fill this slot and the minister’s aware of and supports the action we’ve taken”.
So if you want a job that might only last a little while and will be different from what it is now, send your CV to Tim. It pays $260K a year and, on past performance, it seems you don’t have to do anything.