The first half of Fiscal 2010 was profitable for Weyburn Inland Terminal Ltd. (WIT), driven by both grain handling and a strong crop inputs business, as shown in the Company's second-quarter report.
WIT reported after-tax earnings of $3.566 million ($0.67/share) on sales of $63.724 million for the January to June period - up from $381,000 ($0.07/share) on sales of $64.761 million in the same period in Fiscal 2009.
WIT had solid performances across all business operations, but especially from the crop inputs and grain businesses.A dramatic improvement in the performance of NorAmera BioEnergy was a major reason for the year-over-year improvement in profitability, and other diversification efforts in Alliance Grain Terminal and Alliance Seed have also been positive for WIT.
"The efficiencies that have been built into the terminal's grain handling operation continue to benefit our customers, and their continued support across our other business lines has allowed for excellent overall performance," said President Claude Carles.
"While many companies charge different handling fees to farmers who have different crop qualities in different market areas, WIT has maintained our focus on providing high-value, low-cost services to all our farmer customers.We believe that our local presence and the focus on farmers' needs that comes from being farmer owned and controlled will continue to pay-off for both customers and shareholders in the long term. We look forward to continuing to grow for the benefit of both."
Working capital at June 30 was $2.874 million compared to $1.186 million a year ago, and dividends of over $1.6 million will have been paid to shareholders by the end of August. WIT also paid out a total of $588,000 in freight and dockage premiums to producers in the first half of 2010, and the company continues to file the lowest handling tariffs and be the only major grain handling company to offer net weight tariffs. This results in consistently lower costs to all farmers in the Weyburn market area for elevation, cleaning, and shipping of their grain.
"The wet spring reduced seeded acres significantly and resulted in additional acres being flooded" said CEO Rob Davies. "This impacted our crop inputs business, and will certainly reduce the volume of grain harvested this fall."
Davies noted that between the carryout from last year's big crop and expected good yields in the crop that was seeded, WIT expects to maintain a steady, if somewhat smaller, grain handling program over the next year.
Looking at this fall, Davies added that "WIT staff will continue to work closely with customers through the harvest season, providing delivery opportunity and creating blending and drying programs as required to improve the value of our farm customer's grain."
There is optimism for the remainder of Fiscal 2010, noted Carles. "Our willingness to work with our customers has shown in improved deliveries of both Canadian Wheat Board grains and oilseeds over the past several years. Our experienced grain buying and marketing staff will continue to work with customers to create plans to maximize the value of their crop, we will continue to aggressively market flax and canola, and our professional agronomists can help with crop management through harvest."