THE chief executive of Australian Agricultural Company says the company is ready to increase its live cattle exports to Indonesia.
AACo chief executive David Farley said the Indonesian government in recent days increased the quota for live cattle exports to 125,000 for the three months to June 30 this year, from 60,000 in the previous quarter.
"That was really good news for the whole industry," Mr Farley said after AACo's annual general meeting in Brisbane today.
"We are in a strong position with Indonesia. We've got cattle lined up to be able to meet the requirements all the way through to the end of the year."
Mr Farley said the majority of AACO 80,085 live cattle exports in calendar 2011 went to Indonesia.
Its other markets were the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.
The Australian government banned live exports to Indonesia in June 2011 after the ABC's Four Corners program broadcast footage showing cattle being mistreated by workers at Indonesian abattoirs.
The ban lasted two months.
In February, more footage of the inhumane treatment of animals was broadcast, which was then investigated by the federal government.
"Indonesia is under constant watch, not only from companies like ours but also from the animal welfare and animal activists," Mr Farley said.
"I can tell you quite comfortably, as we are continually being challenged, we will be continually improving our standards."
AACo chairman Donald McGauchie told shareholders that the company monitored its live cattle exports to Indonesia very closely.
"After observing the treatment of AACo cattle firsthand on recent visits to Indonesia, management advises your board that our partners in Indonesia are complying with Australian requirements," Mr McGauchie said in prepared remarks.
Mr Farley said cattle in northern Australia that could not be exported to Indonesia became "very disruptive" to the Australian market.
There were no abattoirs in the north of Australia, meaning cattle often travelled long distances, and in many cases further than going to Indonesia, to be slaughtered.
While AACo has not issued specific earnings guidance for the current year, the company said it hoped to increase profits and achieve an operating cash surplus in calendar 2012.
"If that is achieved, then the board will consider payment of a dividend in 2013," Mr McGauchie said.
Meanwhile, Mr Farley said foreign investment was essential to expand Australia's agricultural sector much in the same way that capital from offshore supported the mining industry or banking system.
"If we can't get that money in Australia, we have got to go offshore to get it," Mr Farley said.
AACo closed up one cents at $1.32 on a day the broader market ended flat.