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Australia's AWB negotiating to sell more wheat to Iraq
AFX European Focus, June 10, 2004
Australian wheat marketer, AWB Ltd, is negotiating to sell 100,000-200,000 tons more wheat to Iraq's grain board after last month winning a contract for 100,000 tons, AWB spokesman Peter McBride said.
He said negotiations have not been concluded but AWB hopes to sell more wheat as Iraq's economy recovers.
"In the past our sales have varied between 1 and 2 mln tons but as the country gets on its feet it could be up to a 3-mln-ton export market and we're striving to get about 50 pct of that," McBride said.
His comments follow AWB chief executive Andrew Lindberg, in a speech in Perth on Wednesday, reaffirming AWB expects to make a net profit of 110-120 mln for the year to September.
Lindberg was also confident of increased sales to Iraq, saying the company can draw on its 55 years of history with the Iraqi grain board.
"Even though there have been some changes in personnel there is still a pretty deep understanding between the two organizations about what needs to be done and how to do it," Lindberg said.
He said AWB also hopes to do more business with Pakistan despite a shipment of AWB's wheat recently being rejected despite tests showing that it was disease free.
Lindberg said there needs to be a clear understanding that any disputes that arise in relation to issues such as quality are independently dealt with.
"I think there's good reason for us to be in that market but it has to be done on appropriate commercial terms and doesn't expose us to undue risk," Lindberg said.
Meanwhile, he said, the AWB remains comfortable with its forecast of Australian wheat production in the range of 21-24 mln tons for the 2004/05 season, which is based on normal climatic conditions for the season ahead.
The estimate is down from a record 25.2 mln tons crop harvested in the 2003/04 season. Australia supplies about 16 pct of world wheat export market.
MGR Archive 10.6.2004
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