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PREVIOUS ARTICLE CommSec Daily Report Tuesday NEXT ARTICLE Business conditions slip in April

Ruralco’s first-half profit has dipped 3.7 per cent to $15.5 million after a jump in one-off costs including those associated with the agribusiness company’s proposed acquisition by Canadian fertiliser maker Nutrien.

Revenue rose 2.7 per cent to $686.1 million and Ruralco raised its interim dividend after underlying profit was stable in line with guidance, but a $626,000 increase in restructuring and acquisition related costs hit its bottom line.

Nutrien’s $462 million all-cash offer was announced in February and Ruralco, whose board recommended the $4.40 per share bid, said on Tuesday the competition watchdog had provisionally scheduled its ruling on the proposal for June 13.

The Foreign Investment Review Board also needs to green light the offer, but Ruralco said it expects shareholders to vote at a scheme meeting and the deal to complete some time in the second half of the current financial year.

Ruralco said it was cautious about short-term seasonal conditions with a drier than average autumn forecast for parts of eastern and western Australia, but it called recent rainfall in some areas “helpful”.

“For the second half, management remains focused on executing our successful strategy, as evidenced by the resilient first-half earnings performance, and doing everything necessary to progress the Nutrien transaction,” chief executive Travis Dillon said.

At 1053 AEST, Ruralco shares were 0.7 per cent lower at $4.40, outperforming a 1.2 per cent decline for the Australian share market as a whole.

RURALCO’S ROBUST HALF

* Net profit down 3.7pct to $15.5m

* Revenue up 2.7pct to $686.1m

* Interim dividend up one cent to 10 cents, fully franked