Webster is a leading Australian agribusiness company with a rich, diverse history spanning over 180 years. In that time, Webster has been involved in a diverse range of activities but we have always maintained a strong connection to the land and Australia’s agricultural industry which is now the platform for our company.
Today, Webster is focused on three main businesses:
Walnuts – we are the southern hemisphere’s largest producer of premium in-shell and kernel walnuts and account for around 90 per cent of Australia’s annual walnut crop.
Agriculture – we are one of the largest irrigated farming producers in Australia with more than 40,000 irrigable hectares of prime fertile land holdings across NSW focusing on cotton, corn and other cereals and livestock.
Water – we own a diverse portfolio of over 200,000 megalitres of water entitlement which underpins all of our businesses. It provides our competitive advantage in providing crop diversity, maximising yield and developing further growth opportunities across our business.
We’re passionate about our business, our products and most importantly, the natural resources which are fundamental to what we do and how we do it, every day.
That passion is reflected in the dedication and expertise of our people at Webster and also our reputation for the quality and integrity of our products.
With our diverse operations, our success is built around our strong and sustainable asset base and our ability to leverage this scale through our technical expertise for the ultimate benefit of our shareholders.
Webster is one of the largest irrigated farming producers in Australia with more than 40,000 irrigable hectares of prime fertile land holdings across NSW.
Our focus is on long term, sustainable farming, whilst maximising profitability from crop mix and yield to harnessing our water portfolio.
Our agricultural presence was gained through the acquisitions of Bengerang, Tandou and Kooba as part of our focus to build our business in complementary crops supported by strategic, value enhancing water entitlements.
Our primary crop focus is on cotton, using technology and expertise to maximise yield and water efficiency, with capability to produce over 200,000 bales of cotton annually.
However, we also produce other crops such as corn, cereals and legumes to provide further diversity across our agricultural portfolio.
In addition, we own extensive grazing farmland to produce 4,000 head of cattle and 10,000 lambs annually.
Our agricultural products are exported to a range of countries across Asia where our produce has a strong reputation for quality and consistency.
The expertise of our staff and business partners, together with the significant opportunities afforded by our land holdings across the Murray Darling Basin, provide a significant platform for Webster to grow our agricultural division to a large scale, sustainable commodities business.
As Australia’s largest producer of premium walnuts, Webster produces around 90 per cent of Australia’s annual walnut crop.
Our walnut operation has complete vertical integration beginning with nursery production, developing our own trees for planting, continuing with management of the orchards and growing the nuts with harvesting and drying capabilities. We continue our ownership through to processing and marketing where quality finished products of in-shell and walnut kernel are exported directly from our farm.
Customers focused on quality produce from Australia and across the globe in Europe, the Middle East and Asia source Webster’s walnuts for their high quality, food safety credentials and reliability of supply. We pride ourselves on being able to supply direct to end users and major retailers to provide the freshness and traceability they demand.
We have a geographically diverse orchard portfolio located in Tasmania and New South Wales. These productive orchards span over 2,000 hectares and comprise modern cultivars including Chandler, Howard, Tulare and other speciality walnut varieties.
We’re continually adding to our orchard portfolio and are currently planting an additional 900 hectares at Avondale West in NSW with commercial harvest expected to commence in 2018.
All of the walnuts produced from these orchards head straight to our state-of-the-art walnut cracking and processing facility at Leeton. This facility provides the flexibility to meet our customers’ requirements for both in-shell walnuts and walnut kernel with sizing and various packaging options.
Having a close working relationship with our orchards enables efficient processes and also ensures that our customers and consumers can be absolutely assured of the quality, integrity and traceability of our walnuts. It’s also why we have an enviable, award-winning reputation for being a safe, consistent and reliable producer and supplier of premium walnuts.
Whether that’s in 500g pre-packs for retail customers or 10kg vacuum sealed cartons for export, our customers can rely on our commitment to deliver best-practice and quality accreditation.
That’s the Webster difference and that’s why our walnuts are recognised as being among the best in the world.
The scale of our business means we can continue to generate further efficiencies through the combination of our water assets and our crop and farming assets while also seeking further opportunities to expand our operations into specific areas.
A significant component of this entitlement holding resulted from the acquisition of Kooba along the Murrumbidgee and the subsequent acquisitions of Tandou and Bengerang with significant water entitlements in the Murray Darling Basin.
Our portfolio is a complementary mix of high and general security water with supplementary and groundwater entitlements.
This scale, diversity and surety of our water holdings underpins our competitive advantage, in providing crop diversity, maximising crop yield and developing further growth opportunities across our business.
Webster owns a diverse portfolio of over 200,000 megalitres of water entitlements, stretching from southern Queensland, through New South Wales to northern Victoria and Tasmania.
It’s also fundamental to our strategy of streaming water to areas where we can generate greatest return for each megalitre of water applied. This is particularly relevant for us because our major walnut and cotton crops are complementary; walnuts are perennial while cotton is an annual crop.
We continually refine our portfolio mix of water to ensure it best meets our farming and cropping activities.
Additionally, we are able to extract further value by exploiting opportunities in water markets.
Board of Directors
Chris Corrigan – BEc (Chairman)
Mr Corrigan was appointed non-executive director in November 2007 until July 2010 and again from 15 October 2012. Mr Corrigan was appointed Chairman on 29 February 2016.
Mr Corrigan was Managing Director of Patrick Corporation Limited, Australia’s largest stevedore company with interests in rail transportation and aviation from March 1990 to May 2006. Prior to that, he had a career with Bankers Trust spanning 20 years, including periods as Managing Director of Bankers Trust in Australia and for the Asia-Pacific region.
In September 2011, Mr Corrigan was appointed Chairman of Qube Logistics Holdings Limited.
David Cushing – BCom, ACA (Non-executive Director)
Mr Cushing was appointed non-executive director on 31 October 2012.
Mr Cushing is Executive Chairman of Rural Equities Limited, one of New Zealand’s largest rural property companies, and is also a director of the private investment company H & G Limited. Mr Cushing was formerly an investment banker with National Australia Bank Limited subsidiary, Bank of New Zealand. Mr Cushing has considerable experience in the agricultural sector having previously been a director of horticultural company Fruitfed Supplies Limited, rural services company Williams & Kettle Limited and New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay Limited. He has also acted as an alternate director of rural services and seed company PGG Wrightson Limited for the Chinese company Agria Corporation.
David Fitzsimons (Non-executive Director)
Mr Fitzsimons was appointed non-executive director on 30 April 2018. Mr Fitzsimons has over 30 years’ investment and finance experience and has been a Director of a number of companies in the UK and Australia in the media, publishing and retail sectors.
Joseph Corrigan – BA, MCA (Alternate for Chris Corrigan)
Mr Joseph Corrigan was appointed alternate for Mr Chris Corrigan on 14 October 2013.
Mr Corrigan holds a bachelor and masters in creative arts and has interests and experience in the agricultural industry particularly wheat, canola and beef. Mr Corrigan is also managing director of an entertainment production company.
Maurice Felizzi - BAAcc, CA, AGIM (Chief Executive Officer / Company Secretary)
Mr Felizzi joined Webster on 18 April 2016 and was appointed Company Secretary from 28 April 2016. Mr Felizzi was appointed Chief Executive Officer on 19 December 2017 and a Director on 30 April 2018. He is a member of CA Australia, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canberra.
Ross L. Burling (Non-executive Director)
Mr Burling is an Executive Director, shareholder and CEO of Stahmann Farms, the largest vertically integrated Pecan and Macadamia Food business in the southern hemisphere. Mr Burling joined the board of Stahmann Farms in February 2010 and has led the company as its Chief Executive Officer since March 2013. Mr Burling has been in management leadership roles for over 25 years and is also a Director with Australian Certified Organic limited, a member of the Gwydir Valley irrigators association, and a graduate of the AICD Company director’s course.
Below you will find relevant company documents in PDF format available for download. Please click on the relevant link to open the associated document.
RESPONSE TO ABC FABRICATIONS
In a program aired on ABC TV on Monday 27 July 2017, 4 Corners presented a story full of factual errors and poorly researched allegations that were seemingly intended to impinge on the reputation of Webster Limited amongst others.
Below is an analysis of the fabrications advanced by the program as they relate to Webster and our correction of the record.
Financial Statements 15 Months to 30 September 2017
Policies, Charters and Constitution