Orica to end sponsorship after 2017 season

Australia’s top cycling teams have lost a key backer, with explosives maker Orica pulling the pin on its sponsorship because of challenging times in the mining industry.

Orica announced on Friday it will end its long-running sponsorship of the GreenEDGE men’s and Australian Institute of Sport women’s road cycling teams. The decision to end financial support at the end of 2017 was not an easy one, Orica said.

“Given the more challenging environment facing the resources and mining services sectors it is the appropriate decision for Orica at this time,” the Melbourne-based company said in a statement.

Orica has been a leading sponsor of the cycling teams since they were formed in 2012. The company is a major supplier of the explosives used in surface and underground mining, quarrying, tunnelling and in the energy sector. Orica’s profit dropped 33 per cent drop in the six months to March, and it expects weak commodity prices will continue to hurt demand for its explosives and chemicals for some time.

The company said it elected to extend the contract by an additional year “to enable the teams extra time to source alternative sponsorship”. Orica’s vice president of corporate affairs Samantha Stevens said the company had benefited from the goodwill associated with Australia’s most successful professional road cycling teams.

“Many of our customers, communities and employees have also been able to participate in first hand experiences with the teams,” she said. GreenEDGE team owner and businessman Gerry Ryan, who is the founder of the Jayco caravan business, said Orica had been “a great partner”. “We will of course continue our efforts to build this team even stronger going onwards,” Mr Ryan said.

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