AWB Says Competitive Contracts Won't Hinder Pool Returns

Former grain-trading monopoly for Australia says release of two competitive contracts is not expected to be a blow to income.

AWB is urging growers to deliver wheat into the 2006-07 national pool now the Federal Government has handed down its decision on bulk wheat exports.

AWB International chairman, Ian Donges, says the Government's decision to allow 800,000 metric tons of wheat to be exported to Indonesia and Iraq meant the bulk of export sales from the 2006-07 harvest would continue to go through the pool.

The 800,000-tons of exports - if they go ahead - are not expected to effect current pool estimates.

"We will direct export sales to premium international customers, such as Japan, and critical domestic customers during what is proving to be a prolonged drought in wheat growing areas right across Australia," Donges said.

Meanwhile, AWB Ltd chairman, Brendan Stewart, says the wheat exporter will be looking to offset the impact of limited bulk export permits on the 2006-07 pool through further cost reductions.

The company has already cut its base pool management fee by 40pc to $39.5 million.

"We will look at what industry services and costs that we can forego in the short term so that we can protect the position of Australian wheat growers in the 2006-07 drought pool," Stewart said.

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