28 Aug 2019

Apple exporter Scales benefits from strategic sell-off

4:27 pm on 28 August 2019

Apple exporter Scales Corporation has reported a higher profit for the first of the year after selling off parts of its business.

No caption

Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

The agribusiness company's net profit was $121.8 million for the six months, up from $34.8m in the previous same period, although divestments contributed $93.2 million to the bottom line.

During the year, Scales underwent significant business changes, including settling on a deal to sell its cold storage business Polarcold to Australian company Emergent Cold, and selling half of its petfood operation to farmer-owned meat co-operative Alliance Group, creating a joint venture.

Its net profit excluding the sales benefits ticked up from $29.4 million to $30.1 million. The company's managing director Andy Borland said apple volumes had been ahead of forecasts despite poor weather resulting in smaller-sized fruit.

"Our performance in the Asia and near markets continue to validate our strategy towards premium varieties targeted to those markets.

"Volumes to those markets, and particularly to China, are notably up on last year and prices have performed well."

Scales intended to revelop a further 85 hectares of orchards in Asia over the next two winters.

"The strong performance from these markets is partly offset by a slower start to the Europe market, which continues to be affected by a larger than normal European crop - however the outlook for the forthcoming European crop suggests this impact will not extend beyond the current season," said Mr Borland.

The company confirmed its full year underlying profit guidance of between $32 million and $37 million and said it remained committed to an annual dividend of no less than 19 cents per share.