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Western Australian bulk handler and the nation's biggest grain exporter CBH Group posts a near-record profit

Big business: WA grain company CBH posted a profit according to its recently released annual report.

Big business: WA grain company CBH posted a profit according to its recently released annual report. Source: News Limited

WESTERN Australian bulk handler CBH Group posted a near-record profit last month.
And the co-operative is headed for its biggest profit ever next year after a bumper harvest this season which so far has seen 15.8 million tonnes delivered into its network.

The company posted a net after tax profit of $131.7 million for its financial year 2012-13 ending September 30, 2013 according to its annual report.

Its profit was down slightly on the $162.5 million record it made in 2011-12 when it handled 15.1 million tonnes.

Total revenue of $2.7 billion was up 22 per cent on last year, and other income up 140 per cent to $103 million.

This other income included a $73 million loss on foreign exchange trades but a $139 million gain on derivatives hedges.

The report also revealed the company shipped 11.5 million tonnes to maintain its status of Australia's largest grain exporter and accumulated sales of $2.93 billion

Grain sales jumped 40 per cent on last year, while grain handling service revenue was down 12 per cent to $404 million.

And despite the predicted windfall next year after handling record tonnage company chief financial officer David Moroney said the company had no plans to return value to grower shareholders in direct payments.

The company would continue to return value to growers with low storage, handling and freight rates and invest in the receival and port network.

"In addition, this year we estimate that we will pay approximately $30 million in patronage payments to growers in the form of rebates from storage and handling operations, marketing and trading and from investment returns,'' Mr Moroney said.

CBH's joint venture flour million business based in South East Asia, Interflour, posted a $16 million profit after tax, half of which went to the co-operative.

CBH first started to invest in South East Asia in 2005 and is planning to expand Interflour's milling capacity from 5900 tonnes to 10,000 tonnes a day during the next three years.

"Interflour is an important part of our business where growers have invested along their supply chain to capture margins made from their wheat,'' Mr Moroney said.

CBH dominates grain storage and handling in Western Australia, but is facing competition this year from two international companies which have secured port berths.

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