Agribusiness

Ruralco sells Elders stake

Sheep Central, September 22, 2014

lambs elders saleyards1Ruralco Holdings sold its 12pc stake in rival agribusiness Elders on Friday.

In 2012, Ruralco Holdings, then Elders’ largest shareholder, initiated discussions to merge Ruralco with Elders’ rural services business.

However the offer was rejected by Elders Limited, which instead embarked on a plan to return the company to a ‘pure play’ rural services business. Non-core assets such as forestry and automotive businesses were sold in a bid to relieve high debt levels.

Earlier this year Elders shares surged by almost 50pc from 13c to 20c after the company announced an improved half year result, a $10 million loss which compared to a $303m loss in the corresponding period last year.

Its share price rose again from 21c to 26c early last week after the board announced a $57 million equity raising and debt reduction plan.

In a statement to the ASX on Friday Ruralco Holdings announced it had sold its 54,029,638 ordinary shares in Elders for $12.4m.

The previous day insurance giant QBE lodged an announced with the ASX confirming that it also had ceased to be a substantial shareholder of Elders, following a sell down of its 10.23pc stake to 6pc over a three month period between March and May and a dilution due to a rights offering by Elders Limited.

Elders shares were priced at 19c at the close of ASX trading on Friday.

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