SYDNEY Feb 24 Australia's largest listed bulk
grain handler, GrainCorp Ltd, said on Friday it expects
profits to more than double in 2017 due to a bumper wheat crop.
The company, which had previously forecast growth without
giving details, said in a statement it expected underlying net
profit for 2017 of A$130 million to A$160 million ($100-123
million) compared with A$53 million for 2016.
The 2016/17 season, just harvested, marks Australia's
largest-ever wheat crop, with output of 35.13 million tonnes
surpassing a previous record in the 2011/12 season and helping
to push benchmark global prices to a 10-year low in August
However the high production is a boon for GrainCorp, given
it derives income from storing and trading grain.
"One of the largest harvests ever seen in Australia will
bring enormous benefits for our regional communities and for
GrainCorp," Chairman Don Taylor said in a speech at the annual
Shares in GrainCorp rose 3.4 percent at the open of trade,
while the broader Australian market traded 0.3 percent
In 2016 the company reported a fall in profit, owing to
restructuring costs and a smaller grain crop.
U.S. agricultural commodities trader Archer Daniels Midland
Co finally sold its 19.9 percent stake in GrainCorp in
December, almost three years after Australian regulators stymied
their A$2.8 billion takeover bid.
($1 = 1.2963 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Tom Westbrook; Editing by Stephen Coates)