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Nufarm looks to refinance A$600 million of debtqrcode

Nov. 27, 2008

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Nov. 27, 2008
Nufarm Ltd., Australia’s only maker of crop protection chemicals, is in talks to refinance A$600 million ($389 million) of debt amid a global capital squeeze.

“We’re fixing our lines of credit with more rigor and more attention than we’ve ever before,” Chief Executive Officer Doug Rathbone, 65, said today in an interview in Melbourne. “We’re looking to have it all further in advance than we would have if we weren’t in this sort of environment.”

A worldwide credit crisis is crimping access to debt and raising the cost of lending after financial companies booked more than $971 billion in writedowns and credit-market losses since last year. That isn’t such an issue for Nufarm because there’s still good demand for agricultural products, Rathbone said.

“We’re seeing great support from all the banks, probably solely because the story of agriculture is so good,” Rathbone said. “It’s all happening fine, it’s all coming together.”

Nufarm has A$300 million of debt to roll over between July 2008 and the year’s end, and A$300 million due between January and July 2009, spokesman Robert Reis said today. The company may provide further details on its refinancing at its annual shareholder meeting next week, he said.

Rathbone said Nufarm still expects to meet its target of as much as a 40 percent jump in operating profit in 2009.

“There’s nothing we see that’s taking us away from that at this point of time,” Rathbone said. He’s “strongly confident” of its full-year operating profit forecast of A$220 million to A$230 million.

The company had operating profit in 2008 of A$163.9 million.

Nufarm fell 8.5 percent to A$8.33 on the Australian stock exchange at 2:25 p.m. in Sydney. The company is the world’s ninth- largest crop protection according to its Web site.
Source: Bloomberg

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