Viterra Inc.
TSX : VT
ASX : VTA

Viterra Inc.

July 05, 2011 16:36 ET

Viterra Commits to Continuous Improvement Following Post Harvest Review

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA--(Marketwire - June 28, 2011) - Leading agribusiness Viterra (TSX:VT) (ASX:VTA) has today bolstered its commitment to continuous improvement and long-term strategic investment in its South Australian operations through its responses to the Viterra Post Harvest Review working group recommendations.

Viterra has today released the working group's report and recommendations, which was presented to Viterra management at the end of May, and the company's responses to the recommendations.

These recommendations and Viterra's responses focus on improving the operation of Viterra's storage and handling network to better serve South Australian growers and users of the network.

Rob Kerin, Chair of the Post Harvest Review working group said Viterra had been very receptive to the working group's recommendations and the feedback received from the stakeholder groups during the review process.

"My discussions with Viterra through this process have made me confident that change will be implemented," he said.

"The working group made 30 recommendations in total with the main areas for improvement being grain classification, site infrastructure and maintenance, and communication."

Rob Gordon, Viterra President, South East Asia, said the review had been a positive experience for the company and the planned changes would improve service delivery immediately and for many years to come.

"The review has provided us with the opportunity to capture valuable feedback about harvest operations and address some legacy issues associated with the bulk handling network in South Australia," he said.

Last year's record crop tested the storage and handling network infrastructure.

"Since 2009, Viterra has invested more than $35 million in storage, transport, logistics and port terminal infrastructure in order to enhance and facilitate greater throughput and increased grain exports from South Australia," Mr Gordon said.

"It is our intention to invest further in the existing network. We are developing a five year capital expenditure plan, which will address elevation capacity, amenities, road works and safety.

"In addition, we are increasing our focus on maintenance, particularly preventative maintenance, with the development and implementation of long-term strategic plans."

One of the biggest issues from last harvest was grain classification. The working group recommendations outlined how issues relating to access to falling number machines, training and personnel requirements can be addressed and resolved.

Mr Kerin said he has been encouraged by Viterra's early action in purchasing 78 falling number machines, its initiative to recruit 200 permanent employees and establishment of a dedicated grain classification unit.

Feedback received during the Review highlighted harvest-related communication was generally well-managed, particularly with regard to the company's SMS service.

However, Mr Gordon said Viterra will continue to improve its communication for the 2011/12 harvest and grower and carrier consultation will be enhanced through strengthened relationships with silo committees.

The safety of growers, carriers, employees and all visitors to Viterra sites is of the utmost importance to the company. Feedback from the Post Harvest Review, particularly from the grower survey, indicated growers and carriers also recognise the importance of safety.

"We will continue to be proactive in our approach to safety," Mr Gordon said.

"I believe this is an area in which Viterra is able to lead the way and make significant improvements to ensure all employees and visitors are safe on site at all times."

Full details of the Post Harvest Review including the full working group report and Viterra's responses to each recommendation are available on the Viterra website at www.viterra.com.au.

In addition, all growers in the State will receive a hard copy of the report and Viterra's responses in coming weeks.

Background

The Post Harvest Review was established in February as a proactive and independent initiative that enabled Viterra to address issues through extensive consultation with a broad variety of stakeholders.

The working group; comprised of chair Rob Kerin, Peter White from the South Australian Farmers' Federation and Dave Lewis from Primary Industries and Resources, South Australia, along with senior internal Viterra members; presented 30 recommendations to Viterra at the end of May.

About Viterra

Viterra provides premium quality ingredients to leading global food manufacturers. Headquartered in Canada, the global agribusiness has extensive operations in Western Canada, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Our growing international presence also extends to offices in Japan, Singapore, China, Switzerland, Italy, Ukraine, Germany and India. Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, we operate in three distinct businesses: grain handling and marketing, agri-products, and processing. Our expertise, close relationships with producers, and superior logistical assets allow the company to consistently meet the needs of the most discerning end-use customers, helping to fulfill the nutritional needs of people around the world. (TSX:VT) (ASX:VTA)

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