September 23, 2003



Australia's Farm Pride Foods Remain In Egg Business


Australia's Farm Pride Foods Ltd appears to have strengthen links with key egg producers after declaring last month that it was slowing moving out of the egg business. 


A statement by the company Monday revealed new acquisitions - a stake in a large poultry farm in state of Victoria and new ties forged with several egg farmers in the province.


It is also combining efforts with marketing group Novo Foods Foods Ltd to focus on a national business platform. As a result, Farm Pride shares pushed up seven cents higher to 51 cents, denoting market approval for its latest moves.  This is a roundabout change for Farm Pride, which had tried to bury its egg business and focus instead on its snack foods, Golden Days.


But the egg farmers among the shareholders mooted the proposal out, leading to a board revamp which included appointing in a new chairman and chief executive.


Today Farm Pride said that its focus would shift to a broader nationwide business rather than concentrating solely on the state of Victoria in southeast Australia. Farm Pride has signed an agreement with Novo, a national marketing joint venture company established in 1999 to market shell eggs to national retail customers and supermarket chains.


Its members include the Western Australian Egg Marketing Board, NSW Egg Producers Co-op Ltd and Pure Foods Eggs Pty Ltd.


The estimated combined turnover of the new Farm Pride Marketing Group would be A$85 million (US$57 million) compared to the existing turnover of the company's retail egg business of $22 million.


Farm Pride said a stake in the central Victorian poultry farm has secured supply chains for the company while granting the possibility of jointly constructing and operating a new state of the art egg production facility.