CLIENT: AWB LTD BOARD AND EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM
EXPERTISE: PUBLIC RELATIONS; ADVERTISING; KNOWLEDGE OF RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA
This project demonstrates the Agency’s ability to work within the frameworks of ASX reporting standards; stakeholder and shareholder engagement; highly sensitive national and international issues management; and to influence government, media and shareholder opinion.
AWB had just lost its legislated monopoly on Australian bulk wheat marketing and needed to ‘normalise’ its shareholder registry so that maximum shareholder value could be extracted from its $718 million purchase of Landmark retail as well as its ongoing commodities trading business operations. There was a requirement to operate in a transitioning environment where a raised profile could draw industry (grower) and political criticism thus driving retail and institutional shareholder anxiety and a fall in share price.
The challenges comprised:
The Primary Agency’s task was to provide the Corporate Affairs team with ongoing objective assessment of market mood, key messages, vote drivers and ‘no-go-zones’. The Agency was further commissioned to provide AWB with an effective but low profile $2.2 billion grain acquisition strategy that would complement and not distract from the high profile Constitutional and Political issues at hand.
At the time of the vote, the Agency’s role was to prepare all supporting collateral and work closely with Computershare Investor Services in the design and delivery of voting materials and drafting of the Constitutional reform motions.
There is little doubt the commercial and political future of AWB was at stake.
The Primary Agency played a key and at times last line of defence role in achieving Constitutional Reform, maintaining share price security, restoring the company’s reputation and acquiring grain. To achieve these objectives The Primary Agency: