20 Jul 2016

Lean times post-Brexit for Silver Fern Farms

9:48 am on 20 July 2016

Silver Fern Farms, the country's largest meat processor, has warned it will only break even this year because of a slide in sales and weaker profit margins.

Silver Fern Farms chairman Rob Hewett (right) and chief executive Dean Hamilton, at today's press conference at the company's Dunedin headquarters.

Silver Fern Farms chief executive Dean Hamilton and chairman Rob Hewett (file photo) Photo: Radio NZ / Ian Telfer

The company said in April it would have a significant fall in profit for the year ended September after a $27.2 million operating profit the year before.

The company said in its latest newsletter the fall in profit was disappointing and had been caused by "lower national volumes and lower margins (exacerbated recently by the NZ dollar strength)".

It said for the nine months ended June, beef volumes were down 4 percent on a year ago and sheep meat was down 3 percent.

The British vote to exit the European Union last month "has had a meaningful negative impact on NZ returns, in particular for lamb" mainly because it had sent the British pound and the Euro lower.

China's Shanghai Maling was due to take a 50 percent stake in a revamped Silver Fern Farms by the end of September, but a group of dissident shareholders forced a special shareholder meeting next month to try for a rethink.

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