Agriterra (3.25p and 1.7% of JIC portfolio) Interim results for the six months ended 30th November 2012 issued this morning do not contain any information that is likely to move the share price in the short term. For the record, turnover more than doubled to $11.5m and pre-tax losses increased to $4.2m from $3.5m compared to the prior year. Much of the statement describes the investment the Company has made increasing its agricultural operations, particularly beef in Mozambique and palm oil and cocoa in Sierra Leone. Management re-iterates that it is in the investment stage of its development and is

"focussed on establishing a strong foundation for scalability" and that the "Board is focussed on headline growth and margins of the Group".

Following the receipt of $28m from the sale of its legacy oil interests, the net assets of the Company currently stand at $64.5m or £42.4m compared with a current market capitalisation of £34.6m. It is possible that further cash will be forthcoming; $10m if the oil legacy becomes a commercial discovery, a rebate on the 30% withholding tax deducted on the sale of the oil assets, upon agreement with Ethiopian Customs and the payment of £11.3m from the Government of South Sudan which is due before the end of May.(I will eat my hat if the last of these three payments is paid!)

Conclusion: The Company is cash rich, stands at a discount to net assets and is developing what will hopefully be a successful and profitable African agricultural business. It is still in the investment stage and it will be sometime until it turns profitable but from hereon we should see strong growth in sales and steady improvement in margins. Happy Holder!

www.JohnsInvestmentChronicle.com

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