Friday, November 29, 2013

HuntBlog Newsletter 29 November 2013

The Federal Government Protects GrainCorp from Foreign Takeover

Congratulations to Treasurer Joe Hockey, the Coalition Government, the National Party and its leader Warren Truss, Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and Liberal Party Senator Bill Heffernan in particular, for rejecting the US giant Archer Daniels Midland proposed takeover of GrainCorp in the national interest.

The HuntBlog 8 October 2013 newsletter quoted Barnaby Joyce’s call for all those that supported restraint on overseas takeover of prime agricultural land and infrastructure to make a lot of “noise” and noted that Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision on the ADM  GrainCorp takeover proposal would be a litmus test of the Coalitions resolve to tighten up Australia’s national interest review of foreign investment in Australia.

As many of you who have been involved in the struggle to keep GrainCorp and it’s important storage and transport infrastructure in Australian hands know-there has certainly been a lot of grass roots “noise” directed to the government on the GrainCorp takeover proposal and foreign investment issues in general since the Coalition came into power in September this year. 

Warren Truss and Barnaby Joyce have been on the barricades unequivocally expressing their concern about the proposed foreign takeover of GrainCorp and Senator Bill Heffernan convened a Senate hearing into the issue to keep the pressure on.

Independents such as Bob Katter have also added their weight, and a plethora of press releases, to support the campaign to prevent the sale of vital public and private infrastructure and assets to foreign controlled entities.

More particularly, as many of you are aware, a host of lobbyists and agri-political leaders and farmer organizations have been in the ear of parliamentarians, the media, and all who would listen about their concerns, in order to counteract the slick and professional PR campaign by Archer Daniels Midland and GrainCorp.

Just this morning, in today’s Australian Financial Review, GrainCorp chairman, John Taylor is quoted as rebuking growers opposing GrainCorp’s sale to Archer Daniels Midland, predicting general calamity, including a crash in the GrainCorp share price and asset closures if the takeover did not go ahead.

Treasurer Joe Hockey however was neither moved nor bullied by the ADM/Archer Daniels Midland lobby and media barrage and stuck to his guns and met his obligation to make a considered decision in the national interest, keeping in Australian hands the crucial grain growing infrastructure that is so essential to the long-term future of Australia’s grain industry.

Time will tell if GrainCorp chairman John Taylor’s dire prediction concerns about GrainCorp’s future and share price prove to be correct in the long-term.

By lunchtime today some commentators were pointing to the $2.94 fall in GrainCorp’s share price since Treasurer Joe Hockey made his announcement rejecting the takeover bid this morning with the share price trading as low as $8.26 down from the $11.20 that GrainCorp shares traded at yesterday to support chairman John Taylor’s dire predictions.

The reality is however that the Friday 29 November 2013  GrainCorp share price of $8.26 was only $.44 below the $8.70 share price that GrainCorp traded at prior to the ADM takeover bid was announced.

As Barnaby Joyce told the Fairfax media this morning, the real test of the wisdom of Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision will play out in the context of the oncoming Asian food bowl boom for Australian grain exports over the next 50 years.

By lunchtime today a Sydney Morning Herald survey showed that 68% of readers supported the Treasurer’s decision to reject the ADM takeover bid of GrainCorp and that only 32% of readers opposed his decision.

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