Ceres to double grain handlings

Officials with Ceres Global Ag say the amount of grain the company handles annually will likely double in 2016-17, thanks largely to the completion of the company’s new terminal at Northgate, Sask.

Year-end financial data released by the company Sept. 22 listed total grain handlings for the 2015-16 fiscal year at 55.8 million bushels.

Due to changes in financial reporting, Ceres’s 2015-16 fiscal year covered a 15-month period that ended June 30.

Ceres president Robert Day suggested that the company’s total grain handlings would double in the 12-months ending June 30, 2017, pushing annual volumes to more than 110 million bu.

“The high demand for our grain handling and storage services during this year’s harvest season was very encouraging for a number of reasons,” Day said.

“It suggests that we are establishing a strong reputation among farmers for the quality of our infrastructure, allowing farmers to penetrate markets across North America and through to U.S. export gateways more efficiently.”

Ceres reported quarterly revenues of $149.3 million in the three months ending June 30, 2016, and a net loss of $1.9 million, or seven cents per share.

That improves on revenues of $59.3 million and a net loss of $1.7 million, or six cents per share in the same period in 2015.

It reported a loss of $11.7 million in 2015-16 related to a devaluation of durum inventories.

Despite that, the company saw significant progress in several areas, said Day. It completed its Northgate grain handling facility and increased the number of farmer customers served and bushels handled. It expanded handlings of non-core grains and oilseeds including canola, rye, peas and flax and loaded more rail cars at Northgate.

Northgate’s total rail car loadings in 2015-16 — including grain and propane — were listed at 3,200, up from 416 the previous year.

The company also hired about 20 new employees to operate the Northgate terminal and it recently reached an agreement with Koch Fertilizer Canada that will facilitate incoming shipments of fertilizer and allow farmers delivering grain to Northgate to back-haul fertilizer.

“We ended the year with a more diverse mix of products handled, a larger inventory of tradeable grains and a reduced exposure to risk than when we began (in 2015-16).

“This progress positioned us to capitalize on the high demand for handling and storage services during the recent harvest season given the record output of grains, canola, and pulses.  This record supply should also help to sustain increased trading activities across our network throughout (2017),” Day said

Ceres is exploring other opportunities for expanding its handlings into new products.

He declined to offer specifics on the nature of those opportunities.

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