Commodity prices lower than 2008, says WCB

Commodity prices lower than 2008, says WCB

Australian dairy firm Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory today (16 February) reported a jump in half-year profits on the back of rising commodity prices.

WCB, which has attracted takeover bids from two companies in recent months, said the figures for the six months to the end of December were a "significant improvement" on the year before.

EBIT jumped from A$4.6m in the six months of fiscal 2008/09 to A$14.7m (US$13.2m) in the current financial year. WCB made a net profit of A$8.9m, against A$1.4m a year earlier.

CEO and MD John McLean said the results were "pleasing" after the "difficult trading conditions" in the 2009 financial year.

However, McLean said commodity prices had not reached the levels seen during the first half of the 2009 fiscal year.

"The collapse in international commodity prices during the eight months to June 2009 carried into the 2010 financial year and, although there has been some recent improvement, prices have not returned to the levels experienced in the first half of the 2009 financial year," McLean said.

WCB's half-year revenues fell 14.7% to A$203.8m due to the still-weak commodity prices and a stronger Australian dollar.