As businesses with international operations or overseas customers, the panellists’ organisations have all acutely experienced the turmoil of the past few years.
Hearing implant maker Cochlear saw its cash flow dry up as health systems around the world cancelled elective surgeries to cope with COVID-19 outbreaks. According to Vice President for Global Tax & Treasury Kimberley Simpson, that meant “dealing with immediate impact of minimal cash flow and anticipating negligible revenue forecasting for the immediate period at the start of the outbreak” for the company.
Likewise, Sydney University felt an immediate impact as international borders closed down and kept foreign students away. “It’s no secret that China is a massive market,” said Treasurer Laurence Zanella, “and we have a very large cohort of Chinese students that come to the university.”
While agribusiness GrainCorp was resilient against COVID-19 disruptions, the conflict in Ukraine has brought a different kind of challenge. It has slowed the movement of grain out of the country, where GrainCorp has a trading office that buys directly from farmers.
Ukraine exports approximately 80 million tonnes of grain a year. “While some of that is now getting out through the grain corridor, the outlook is clouded still,” noted GrainCorp Group Treasurer Peter Candy.