Big profit for Land Bank
Fin24

Big profit for Land Bank

2014-08-18 11:08

Johannesburg The Land Bank recorded a net profit of R394.3m in the 2013/14 financial year, a 29.4% increase from the previous financial year, it said in its annual report released on Monday.

This equated to an increase of R89.7m, from its net profit of R304.6m in the 2012/13 financial year, acting Land Bank CEO Lindiwe Mdlalose said in Johannesburg.

The bank's loan book grew from R26.5bn in 2012/13 to R33bn in the period under review.

Investment income increased marginally, from R53.6m in 2012/13 to R56.3m in 2013/14.

Non-trading and capital items improved from a net loss of R10.1m in 2012/13 to a profit of R9.5m in the year under review.

Acting Land Bank CEO Lindiwe Mdlalose said the agricultural sector's performance showed positive improvement for the period up to December 2013, compared to the previous year.

The gross value of agricultural production for 2013 was estimated at R187.678m. This was an increase of 8.5% over the previous year's R172.974m.

Total farming debt increased by 15.5%.

Mdlalose said South Africa continued to be the net exporter of agricultural products.

"The value of trade was R72 493m for exports against R57 307m for imports."

She said while the agricultural sector performed positively in general, some parts of the country had experienced adverse weather, such as drought.

"The effects of drought experienced by the sector during the previous season have been evident in tight grain stock supply, with the need to increase maize import," she said.

"As supply improved during the course of the season, maize prices have subsequently subsided from levels seen earlier in the season on the back of favourable crop forecasts for the 2014 season."

Mdlalose said wheat prices remained "bullish" due to production disruptions related to "developments in Ukraine".

Ukraine is the world's largest producer of sunflower oil, and a major global producer of grain and sugar. In 2011, Ukraine was the world's third-largest grain exporter with that year's harvest being much larger than average.

At the end of last year, protests erupted in Ukraine, with citizens calling for the resignation of president Viktor Yanukovych.

The issue was Yanukovych's decision to back away from plans that would have established free trade and furthered political co-operation between Ukraine and the European Union.

Mdlalose said the Land Bank's future relied on the success of farmers and agri-businesses.

"The Land Bank has an important role to play in improving the number of sustainable emerging farmers entering the commercial space, while continuing to support commercial farmers to ensure they remain competitive," she said.

"Our healthy financial outlook... enables us to attract other potential investors and multilateral funders at relatively competitive rates. Such presents the bank with an opportunity to competitively increase its investment in the sector."