(Adds details of results, CEO comment, new venture capital fund)
May 11 (Reuters) - Australia’s Graincorp Ltd reported an about five-fold jump in first-half profit and declared a special dividend on Wednesday, helped by soaring prices and demand for grains amid global supply constraints due to the conflict in Ukraine.
Demand for Australian food grain and oilseed skyrocketed as trade disruptions near the Black Sea affected supplies from major exporters Russia and Ukraine, forcing buyers to look at alternate sources of supply.
“Global demand for Australian grain, oilseeds, and vegetable oils has remained elevated, after two consecutive bumper crops in east coast Australia and during a period of tight global supply” Chief Executive Officer Robert Spurway said in a statement.
The agribusiness firm said net profit attributable was A$246 million ($170.58 million) for the six months ended March, compared with A$51 million a year ago.
Graincorp declared an interim dividend of 12 Australian cents per share, up from 8 cents a year earlier, and also declared a special dividend of 12 Australian cents per share.
The company also confirmed its annual profit forecast of between A$310 million and A$370 million, issued last month.
New South Wales-based Graincorp also launched a A$30 million corporate venture capital fund to invest in agricultural technology start-ups. ($1 = 1.4422 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Navya Mittal and Jaskiran Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)
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