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Elders shares soar after live cattle export ban lifted

SHARES in the agribusiness conglomerate Elders have posted their biggest gain in three months after the federal government lifted the ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia.

SHARES in the agribusiness conglomerate Elders have posted their biggest gain in three months after the federal government lifted the ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia.

Elders said yesterday it would apply for export permits immediately and had a team in Indonesia auditing the slaughterhouses it operates.

Its shares rose 6.4 per cent, or 25?, to 41.5? after having earlier in the session hit 10.3 per cent. Shares in a rival exporter, Australian Agricultural Company, rose 1.5? to $1.45.

A Citigroup analyst, Tim Mitchell, said Elders was in a better position than most cattle exporters to respond to the reopening of trade.

We expect Elders should be one of the first to be granted an export permit given the control it has over the supply chain and the high [Australian] standards its Indonesian abattoir already adheres to, which includes stunning before slaughter, Mr Mitchell said.

Elders operates a livestock carrier, feedlot and an abattoir in Indonesia. It said an estimate provided on Wednesday, that the ban would cost it between $4.4 million and $7.3 million in the fiscal year to September, remained appropriate.

A CommSec market analyst, Savanth Sebastian, said the lifting of the ban was one less uncertainty weighing on live cattle exporters, but the impact of the strong Australian dollar would affect investor sentiment towards these stocks. There will be some nervousness on that front as we move into profit-reporting season, he said. It does make it more difficult for them to meet those bottom line guidance targets.

The chief executive of Elders, Malcolm Jackman, said his company hoped to resume shipping cattle to Indonesia on August 1.

However, Elders and the other exporters must meet tougher requirements, including tracking animals across the supply chain to stamp out cruelty, according to new rules set out by the Agriculture Minister, Joe Ludwig.

Paul Holmes a Court, the chief executive of the beef exporter Heytesbury Cattle Company, said exports could be weeks away. Id be very surprised if anything moves before August, he told ABC Radio.


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