Nufarm eyes greener pas­tures

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - BUSINESS - JAMES HALL

AGRI­CUL­TURAL chem­i­cal sup­plier Nufarm con­tin­ues to lean on its over­seas busi­nesses as the east­ern Aus­tralia drought dries out lo­cal in­come, but man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Greg Hunt in­sists ge­o­graphic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion has the com­pany on track for full-year growth.

Mr Hunt told share­hold­ers at the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing yes­ter­day the 2018 Aus­tralian win­ter crop is ex­pected to fall 20 per cent be­low the two-decade av­er­age, with east­ern states’ fore­cast alone about 40 per cent lower.

But the com­pany said it has grown rev­enues and un­der­ly­ing profit in North Amer­ica and South Amer­ica, while its newly ac­quired prod­uct port­fo­lios in Europe were per­form­ing well de­spite also be­ing ham­pered by dry con­di­tions. Nufarm shares spiked at yes­ter­day’s open but fell 1.46 per cent to $6.09 at 1305 AEDT, down from an eight-year high of $9.74.

“We are con­fi­dent the changes and im­prove­ments we have made to the busi­ness and the growth plat­forms we have de­vel­oped will con­tinue to gen­er­ate in­creased value for share­hold­ers,” Mr Hunt said.

As­sum­ing av­er­age sea­sonal con­di­tions, Mr Hunt said he ex­pects 2019 un­der­ly­ing earn­ings to be in a range of $500 mil­lion to $530 mil­lion, well up on the $386 mil­lion gen­er­ated in 2018. AN­THONY KEANE

TENS of thou­sands of home­own­ers who plan to earn ex­tra cash over Christ­mas by rent­ing out bed­rooms or their homes are be­ing warned of a po­ten­tially painful in­sur­ance sting.

A boom in short stay rental plat­forms such as Airbnb has put an es­ti­mated 140,000 short-term land­lords at risk be­cause guest dam­age or theft is most likely not cov­ered by their home and con­tents in­sur­ance pol­icy.

The In­sur­ance Coun­cil of Aus­tralia is is­su­ing a fresh warn­ing af­ter hear­ing “fright­en­ing sto­ries” of prop­er­ties be­ing stripped or trashed by short-term renters.

Its Un­der­stand In­sur­ance ini­tia­tive says peo­ple should phone their in­sur­ance com­pany and check their cover be­fore open­ing their home to strangers, be­cause only a small pro­por­tion of poli­cies will pro­tect them.

Un­der­stand In­sur­ance’s Lisa Kable said one re­cent case in­volved a cou­ple of­fer­ing a week­end rental of their “beau­ti­ful beach­side prop­erty” with rear lane ac­cess.

“That rear lane ac­cess made it easy for the peo­ple who shipped in for the week­end to ship ev­ery­thing out of the home through the back lane,” she said.

The own­ers re­turned to find their prop­erty empty, lodged an in­sur­ance claim for hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars, and then found they were not cov­ered.

“Own­ers may not re­alise that most in­sur­ers re­gard short-term hol­i­day rental as a com­mer­cial use of the prop­erty be­cause the like­li­hood some­thing will go wrong is higher,” Ms Kable said.

Short-stay rentals have surged through plat­forms in­clud­ing Airbnb, Stayz, Home­away and Flip­key, and even global ho­tel ac­com­mo­da­tion site Book­ing.com has ex­panded into the arena.

Ms Kable said po­ten­tial land­lords should not rely on a rental plat­form’s host pro­tec­tion in­sur­ance, be­cause there were gaps in the cover, and should read their pol­icy’s prod­uct dis­clo­sure state­ment.

“There are ways to cover your­self and your be­long­ings. There are prod­ucts out there,” she said.

How­ever, only about 5 per cent of prop­erty own­ers use them de­spite such poli­cies cost­ing about $5 a day.

Land­lord in­sur­ance com­pany Terri Scheer says its short-stay in­sur­ance poli­cies only ap­ply when an en­tire prop­erty is rented out, not a spare bed­room.

Terri Scheer ex­ec­u­tive man­ager Car­olyn Par­rella said dam­age by ten­ants was not al­ways ma­li­cious or in­ten­tional.

“Even the best-be­haved guests can ac­ci­den­tally cause dam­age, such as spilling a drink on car­pet,” she said.

“As an Airbnb host of a CBD apart­ment my­self, I’d en­cour­age other prop­erty own­ers to check guests’ prior re­views and ref­er­ences be­fore ac­cept­ing book­ings, and en­forc­ing strict check-in pro­cesses and house rules, to help pre­vent po­ten­tial tenant-re­lated is­sues.”

Ms Kable said the in­sur­ance is­sues could also work in re­v­erse, with trav­ellers who stayed in ac­com­mo­da­tion of­fered through home shar­ing plat­forms less likely to be cov­ered by in­sur­ance if they suf­fered in­jury or theft.

Hol­i­day lease dis­as­ter: A home af­ter things went very wrong for the own­ers who had let it via an on­line plat­form.

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