24 Aug 2020

Comvita posts reduced annual loss

10:08 am on 24 August 2020

The honey manufacturer and exporter Comvita has posted a reduced annual loss as it restructures and looks to capitalise on a lift in sales.

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Photo: 123rf

The company's loss for the year ended June was $9.7 million, most of it caused by restructuring costs, compared with a loss of $27.7m a year ago, which had writedowns in asset values.

However, a second half year revival, as Comvita moved to slim and simplify its business and increase margins, resulted in a profit but not enough to overturn a first half loss.

"We have made significant changes to the business to set ourselves up for long term profitable growth and have seen this start to materialise in bottom line improvements in the second half," chair Brett Hewlett said.

Underlying earnings were lifted by strong revenue growth, although the Covid-19 pandemic cost the company $11m in Australia and New Zealand as border controls hit sales to foreign tourists.

However, exports to much of Asia, the US, Europe and the Middle East showed double digit growth.

In February the company started a $15m restructuring programme to reduce complexity and get back to basics, cut its costs including 90 jobs, and improved its planning and management of the honey output to cope with bad years and capitalise on good harvests.

Comvita raised $50m through a share issue in May, which has also allowed it to reduce debt by more than 80 percent over the past year.

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