Elders to shed 150 jobs amid difficult season

Rural services company Elders is set to axe about 150 jobs, or 10 per cent of its workforce, as it reorganises its business and reduces debt.

Rural services company Elders is set to axe about 150 jobs, or 10 per cent of its workforce, as it reorganises its business and reduces debt.

Chief executive Malcolm Jackman said the jobs would go from across the company.

"It became pretty obvious in the first half of this year, with the very tough seasonal conditions ... that the cost structure in the business was not sustainable," he said. "What we've done is reset the nature of the organisation, the management structure, the management style ... so that we can deliver a sustainable profit through really tough seasons."

Elders is aiming to cut operating costs by more than $25 million, from next April. A small number of rural and regional branch offices will be closed or consolidated into larger nearby branches.

However, shares in Elders surged 10.5 per cent to 10.5ยข as it also confirmed it had struck a deal renewing and extending its debt facilities to the end of 2014. The debt agreement would allow Elders to reposition itself as a pure agribusiness company, Mr Jackman said.

He said the sales process for Elders' agricultural business was off the table now refinancing was in place. Elders said it expected to report an underlying net loss for the year to September of $32 million to $39 million.

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