The shareholders of Southern Ag Grain have announced a likely change in ownership to the NSW-based grain marketer.

Emerald Grain Pty Ltd will acquire 100 per cent of Southern Ag Grain, purchasing a 50 per cent stake from grower-owned agricultural investment group Southern Agventure Limited.

The sale of Southern Agventure’s stake to Emerald is subject to shareholder approval at Southern Agventure’s AGM on 18 December. The deal is fully endorsed by Southern Agventure’s board.

Southern Ag Grain was established by the two firms in 2009 following the deregulation of Australia’s wheat market, with the aim of providing more grain marketing choices for Riverina grain growers.

It has operated as a successful 50:50 joint-venture for the past six years.

Since its inception, Southern Ag Grain has opened offices in Wagga Wagga, Moama and West Wyalong, built a strong team of locally-based grain merchants and purchased around 2.5 million tonnes of grain from nearly 1000 New South Wales farming families.

Southern Agventure chairman David Lamont said Southern Agventure had achieved what it had set out to when it helped establish the local grain marketer.

“Southern Agventure is committed to investing in enterprises that stretch beyond the farm gate to help keep that money in the community.

“Our involvement in Southern Ag Grain has provided our Company with profit distributions which have enabled us to carry out our activities and provide dividends to our shareholders,” Mr Lamont said.

“We have helped attract competition to the region, with many more grain marketers operating across southern New South Wales compared to 2009.”

“Following the success of Southern Ag Grain, Southern Agventure is now focussing on other value-adding opportunities for the region.”

Emerald Grain Managing Director John Murray said the proposed new ownership structure was positive news for grain growers.

“Southern Ag Grain has developed a reputation for excellent grower service and we intend to uphold this tradition. We know we can only be successful if our grower customers are successful too.

“Under Emerald, Southern Ag Grain will continue grain accumulation and marketing activities, feeding grain through Emerald’s network of storages and ports through to domestic and international end users.”

Emerald’s acquisition of Southern Ag Grain is the third major investment announcement for the group in NSW in less than twelve months. Emerald recently acquired a storage facility in Ardlethan and in March it announced a share in a new grain export facility in Port Kembla as part of Quattro ports.

“Emerald Grain has made a long term commitment to improving the NSW grain supply chain and providing more competition for local growers’ grain,” Mr Murray said.