Australia: Graham Bradley to chair GrainCorp’s malt business

Graham Bradley is going to chair GrainCorp’s malt business if the planned spin-off is going to take place, the largest Australian bulk grain handler reported today. Bradley assumed the role of Chairman of the GrainCorp Board two years ago on 1 May 2017 and will be succeeded by Peter Richards who has been appointed deputy chairman of GrainCorp effective immediately.

GrainCorp announced in April to spin off its malting business, the world’s fourth largest independent maltster, in a separate company and list it on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). GrainCorp’s Grains and Oils businesses will be combined into an integrated grains and edible oils business and form New GrainCorp (, 4.4.2019). People close to the matter believe that the intended demerger is meant to facilitate a partial sale of the business to an outside investor and to restructure the grain business, whose earnings have been recently hardly hit by drought.

Last month, GrainCorp posted a AUD 59 million half-year loss compared to a AUD 36 million profit the year before. "East coast Australian grain production was the lowest in over a decade and this has had a significant unfavorable impact on both our grains and oilseeds businesses," GrainCorp’s CEO Mark Palmquist said when presenting the figures.

In December, GrainCorp received an unsolicited non-binding AUD 2.4 billion (USD 1.8 billion) takeover bid from little-known asset manager Long Term Asset Partners (LTAP) (, 4.12.2018). However, the suitor withdrew its takeover bid in May after due diligence. “Had due diligence supported our operational assumptions, we are confident we would have turned the LTAP proposal into a binding offer as contemplated,” LTAP Chairman Tony Shepherd said on May 6.

An earlier AUD 2.8 billion takeover attempt in 2013 by U.S. agribusiness giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) had been blocked by the Australian government following pressure from grain growers. In December 2016 ADM was forced to sell its 19.9 per cent stake in GrainCorp for a sum of A$387 million ($286.92 million) to underwriters UBS (, 1.12.2016).

GrainCorp also advised today that it has commenced an international search for a successor to Mark Palmquist as managing director & CEO of the company following Mr Palmquist’s future appointment to managing director & CEO of the malting business following the demerger. The search is canvassing external and internal candidates and follows the decision of GrainCorp’s chief operating officer Klaus Pamminger to remain in this role post-demerger and focus on successful delivery of the substantial opportunities identified through the integration of Grains and Oils.

Graham Bradley, the current chairman of GrainCorp and designated chairman of the malt business after the demerger, has had a distinguished career in business, including eight years as managing director of Perpetual Limited and senior roles at Blake Dawson and McKinsey & Company.He is currently Non-Executive Chairman of HSBC Bank Australia, EnergyAustralia Holdings and Virgin Australia International Holdings. He is also a Director of HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, GI Dynamics, and Stilmark Pty Ltd. In July 2013, he was appointed Chairman of Infrastructure NSW.

Peter Richards, the designated chairman of GrainCorp’s remaining business after the demerger of the malting unit joined the GrainCorp Board in November 2015. He has over 35 years business experience with global companies, having worked in operational and business development roles in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Mr Richards was formerly the Managing Director of Norfolk Group Limited in 2013, and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Dyno Nobel Limited from 2005 to 2008, having held various senior positions in the company since 1990.

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