The Courier-Mail

Wheat farmers to harvest 25m tonnes after rainfall

Billabong director quits in ‘conflict of interest’

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WINTER rain has boosted the potential harvest for Australia’s wheat farmers.

The harvest season kicks off next month and Australia was expected to produce 25.3 million tonnes of wheat in 2015-16, the Australian Bureau of Agricultur­al & Resource Economics & Sciences (ABARES) said in its latest report. That is up from the 23.6 million tonnes forecast in June and better than the pre- vious year’s 23.7 7 million tonnes.

Wheat prices s are at a near r five-year low as back-to-back bumper global harvests boost supply. World inventorie­s of grain, including wheat, are swelling to the highest in three decades.

According to Rabobank Internatio­nal, while the El Nino is a risk, conditions tend to be mostly favourable across key crop areas. “New South Wales had good seasonal conditions over winter and in other states, South Australia an and Western Austr tralia in particular, th there was late winte ter rain that came ju just at the right ti time,” Peter Collins,lin from ABARES,A said. BILLABONG shares have taken a hit after the surfwear group announced the abrupt departure of a key director.

Matthew Wilson, managing director of major Billabong shareholde­r Oaktree Capital Management, has stepped down citing a potential conflict of interest.

Oaktree and fellow US private equity house Centerbrid­ge Partners s control more than 38 per cent of Billabong shares, hav- ing bailed out thee troubled company in a recapitali­sation deal in 2013.

Mr Wilson joined Billabong as a director in November 2013 and was Oaktree’s sole representa­tive on the board. His alternate director Thomas Casarella has also resigned, Billabong said yesterday.

“Mr Wilson has decided to resign due to a potential conflict in Oaktree’s investment portfolio,” Billabong said.

Shares in Billabong closed down 1 at 56.5 yesterday.

The stock had tr traded at less th than 11 in June 20 2013 before Oaktr tree and Centerbr bridge threw B Billabong a financi cial lifeline.

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