27 Aug 2016

Kiwifruit windfall nearly doubles Seeka profit

10:52 am on 27 August 2016

Produce company Seeka has reported a whopping 92 percent lift in profit of $7.1 million for the first half of the year.

Just harvested green kiwifruit

Photo: RNZ/Susan Murray

The six-month result to the end of June includes a one-off gain from ending long term leases, which added $457,000.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks said the company was increasing its dividend by 0.1 cents to 10 cents a share.

Several major factors pushed revenue up.

"Seeka handled record New Zealand kiwifruit volumes, at 32 million trays. While these higher volumes have led to better earnings, they also required significant investment.

"The company had invested $17.8m in New Zealand ahead of the volume increase and the infrastructure was in place to deliver growers a timely harvest. Early fruit performance was good, particularly in the SunGold variety."

Mr Franks said the company's Australian operations had started profitably in their first season, with Seeka harvesting 580,000 tray equivalents of Australian kiwifruit, 1432 tonnes of Nashi pears, and 1791 tonnes of European pears.

Australian operations collected earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of $1.52m.

"Our Australian earnings reflect a challenging first growing season, and we are learning about doing business in Australia and its environment," Mr Franks said.

Seeka was very positive about its Australian business and its potential, and the company was continuing to invest in its development, he said.