Case Study in Tutures and Options: "United Grain Growers"

Essay by sabrumeaUniversity, Master'sA, September 2009

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United Grain Growers (UGG) is one of the oldest grain distributors in Canada. Grain distributors were important intermediaries between the farmer and the end market. A grain distributor helped farmers sell their grain by providing storage and sorting facilities, and transportation services. Distributors charged farmers handling fees for these services.

UGG was founded by a special legislation in 1906, which was passed by the Canadian Parliament - the United Grain Growers Act. Initially UGG was established as a farmer-owned cooperative for their mutual benefit. UGG only became a public cooperation in 1993 by issuing limited voting common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange. UGG had raised $9.8 million through UGG's Initial Public Offerings of 1.22 million shares at $8.00 each. Even though UGG is known as a public company, it still retains its basic farmer cooperative roots and strategic goal of "Meeting Farmers' Business Needs". Its board members consist 15 where 12 of them were selected by farmer customers, remaining by the common shareholders.

Agriculture - and in particular the grain industry - had always been quite volatile that has much to do with the forces of supply and demand in the global market. Grain supplies were variable due to natural forces such as pests, diseases, and weather. While farmers could apply a variety of treatments to control insects or protect against disease, they could do little to affect the weather. As a result, grain supply was subject to large fluctuations. In conjunction with fluctuations in demand, this led to erratic grain prices and revenues (see Exhibit 1 and 2).

.... (the essays still continues)ConclusionUnited Grain Growers has had to identify all its corporate risks as a result of recommendations in the 1994 Dey Report from the Toronto Stock Exchange. It uncovered 47 in all, from fluctuations...