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AACo steps up its luxury beef push

AAP logoAAP 22/11/2016 Trevor Chappell

Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) plans to expand its luxury beef brands into more key markets over the next 18 months after a recent launch in Singapore.

Australia's leading beef producer is shifting its focus, selling more premium branded beef and less live cattle.

AACo launched its flagship luxury beef brands, Westholme and Wylarah, in Singapore in early October.

"We will launch these brands into other key markets over the next 18 months," AACo managing director James Strong said on Wednesday.

"This represents our initial drive towards changing the global luxury beef segment. This strategy will lead to increased sales prices."

Premium branded beef sales made up 92 per cent of total sales in the six months to September, up from 86 per cent, AACo said.

The company made a net profit of $47.9 million in the first half of its fiscal year, down four per cent from a year earlier as the company scaled back live cattle sales.

Sales revenue fell 18 per cent to $214 million, with sales of branded beef down 13 per cent and cattle sales down 50 per cent.

An increase in the days that wagyu cattle were on feed limited the amount of wagyu product available for sale, impacting revenue, AACo said.

That delay in sales will result in better product quality, it said.

Better prices for wagyu products and higher sales from AACo's Livingstone Beef abattoir near Darwin partially offset the revenue reductions.

AACo also cut its sourcing and production costs by nine per cent, which helped improve margins.

AACo shares were down 4.25 cents at $1.7025 at 1500 AEDT.

AACO LOOKING TO BEEF UP SALES OF PREMIUM WAGYU

* Half year net profit down 4pct to $47.9m

* Revenue down 18pct to $214.1m

* No dividend, unchanged

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