Elders has announced a round of restructuring of its rural division after striking a deal with financiers to allow it to reposition itself as a purely agricultural concern.

Now the company has started the process of closing branches and letting staff go.

Two branches in western NSW have been confirmed as due for closure within weeks, and Elders group general manager David Goodfellow has confirmed that eight other branches are slated for closure across Australia as part of the restructure.

Mr Goodfellow says the action is being taken to ensure that Elders remains strong and can continue to service its rural clients.

He expects clients of Elders from Bourke and Brewarrina will take their business to Elders in Dubbo, some 370 kilometres away.

Deputy mayor of the Brewarrina Shire Robert Wason is a grazier and an Elders client. He says Elders is naive if it thinks it will keep those accounts.

"It's just like when the National Bank closed here; they thought they'd keep our business as well, but people voted with their feet.

"I cannot understand why they are closing Brewarrina.

"It may not be their biggest branch, but it doesn't lose money and they've made good money out here over the years."

Mr Wason says the announcement has come at the worst possible time, as Brewarrina struggles with continuing drought conditions, resulting in economic hardship in the community.

"We don't need to lose another business at this time."

Elders has also announced that it expects to lay off up to 150 staff in this process, and chief executive Malcolm Jackman has not ruled out the possibility of a hostile takeover in coming months.

 

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