Export ban drives AACo to $8.4m loss
Brisbane Times (AU)
January 31, 2013
Australia's largest cattle producer Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) made an $8.4 million loss in 2012 due to the impact of a suspension of live exports.
But the company has forecast a turnaround in 2013, after holding back its herd to gain weight and then sell into an improving market.
AACo also said recent heavy rains had not fallen on its pastures and that would have a positive impact on cattle markets.
The company's loss for the 12 months to December 31 was down from a net profit of $10.5 million in 2011.
A $41 million write-down in the value of its properties in northern Australia was the main contributor to the profit fall.
In early trade, AACo shares were down half a cent - 0.04 per cent - at $1.245
AACo said that write-down was made because of the federal government's suspension of live cattle exports to Indonesia in 2011, and Indonesia's subsequent halving of cattle import quotas.
But, managing director David Farley, said the company was poised to generate positive cash flow in 2013...
Beef importer caught 'bribing' Indonesian MP
Michael Bachelard - The Canberra Times (AU)
February 1, 2013
AN INDONESIAN company with deep links to the Australian beef industry has been caught red-handed offering bribes to an Indonesian politician, apparently to circumvent the country's quota on beef imports.
A number of Australian exporters use the company, Indoguna Utama, to bring beef into Indonesia, and one company, Sydney-based Mulwarra Export, is part-owned by its founder, Elizabeth Liman.
Two directors of Indoguna, Juardi Effendi and Arya Abdi Effendi, were nabbed by Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission at a city hotel on Wednesday with 1 billion rupiah ($A100,000) in cash stuffed into their car boot.
They are alleged to have been on their way to deliver a bribe to Luthfi Hasan Ishaaq, president of the Islam-based political party PKS. Indonesia's Agriculture Minister, Suswono, represents the party in President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's government.
Anti-corruption investigators sealed the office of the head of Mr Suswono's department, the director-general of livestock and animal health, as part of its investigation.
Mr Suswono imposed strict beef import quotas after Australia's short-lived ban on live cattle exports in 2011, on the pretext that Indonesia wanted to become self-sufficient in beef. The quota, which applies to live cattle as well as boxed beef, gutted the export trade with Australia and has resulted in shortages of beef in Indonesia, skyrocketing prices and the introduction of pork into traditional beef meatballs.
The corruption commission's chairman, Bambang Widjojanto, said the bribe was paid in an attempt by Indoguna Utama to get a larger import allowance.
The arrest raises the question whether the quota - 32,000 tonnes of boxed beef in 2013 - has become simply a bribe-raising exercise for PKS, which is part of Indonesia's governing coalition, with two cabinet ministers including the communications minister, who is responsible for Indonesia's loophole-filled pornography ban.
Indoguna Utama lists five Australian beef exporters on its website as ''partners'', including the Barossa Valley-based Andrews Meat, Queensland's Jack's Creek Wagyu beef, and Western Meat Packers Group in Western Australia.
Indoguna's founder and owner, Elizabeth Liman, is the part-owner and director of another Australian company, Mulwarra Export.
Mulwarra's owner, Greg Darwell, told Fairfax Media on Thursday she was a passive minority investor. He said he knew nothing about the bribery allegations, and they surprised him...