Agribusiness Elders has reported an annual loss of $505 million due to charges related to restructuring the company, and challenging and seasonal market conditions.
The result was in line with guidance provided by Elders earlier in November.
Elders’ loss for the year ended September 30 was $505.2 million, compared to a loss of $60.6 million in the prior year.
The loss included $442.2 million in impairment charges and other non-recurring items related to divestments and restructuring as Elders moved towards becoming a pure-play agribusiness.
“The 2013 year marks the near completion of a five-year process of rationalisation and restructuring of assets, operations, finances and carrying values in order to refocus Elders on its core strength and historical purpose: rural services,” Elders managing director Malcolm Jackman said in a statement on Monday.
“Elders can finally focus all of its management and staff attention on operating our core business and serving our customers.”
Elders has sold its Futuris automotive interiors business and has nearly finished selling its forestry assets.
Mr Jackman said that as a result of the sales, the company had substantially reduced its debt.
Elders said a downturn in sales in its core rural services business during 2013 reflected seasonal conditions and was consistent with industry experience.
Mr Jackman said Elders was still in talks with parties interested in re-capitalising the company, but no binding or complete proposals had been received.
Elders said earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in the rural services business in 2013 were affected by a $24.2 million charge related to accounting discrepancies in Elder’s live export business.
The charge was needed to restate the global livestock trading balance sheet after the company identified that trading results had not been recorded in line with accounting policies.
Investigations were continuing into the accounting irregularities.
Elders said current evidence pointed to likely inappropriate, and potentially fraudulent, activity.
Shares in Elders were steady at 12 cents at 1015 AEDT.