Like the update yesterday from Automotive Holdings, the profit announcement from Ruralco is of academic interest seeing it is moving towards finalising its takeover by a Canadian suitor.
But unlike AHG, which provided a release full of bad news ahead of being swallowed by rival car dealer group and major shareholder, AP Eagers, Ruralco’s interim result was generally upbeat before being swallowed by the Canadian fertiliser group, Nutrien.
Ruralco said first-half profit dipped 3.7% to $15.5 million after higher one-off costs including those associated with the agribusiness company’s proposed acquisition by Nutrien.
Revenue rose 2.7% to $686.1 million. Ruralco raised its interim dividend by a cent to 10 cents a share after underlying profit was in line with guidance, but a $626,000 increase in restructuring and acquisition-related costs hit its bottom line.
Nutrien’s $462 million all-cash offer was announced in February and Ruralco, whose board recommended the $4.40 a share bid, said yesterday the competition watchdog had provisionally scheduled its ruling on the proposal for June 13.
The Foreign Investment Review Board also needs to give its approval, but Ruralco said it expects shareholders to vote at a scheme meeting and the deal to complete some time in the second half of the current financial year.
Ruralco said it was cautious about short-term seasonal conditions with a drier than average autumn forecast for parts of eastern and western Australia, but it called recent rainfall in some areas “helpful”.
“For the second half, management remains focused on executing our successful strategy, as evidenced by the resilient first-half earnings performance, and doing everything necessary to progress the Nutrien transaction,” chief executive Travis Dillon said in the statement.