11 Nov 2016

Meat company's annual profit up by 28 percent

3:43 pm on 11 November 2016

Alliance Group - the country's largest sheep meat processor and exporter - has annouced an annual pre-tax profit of $10.1 million, and will pay $9.8m in divdends to its farmer shareholders.

The Alliance Group's Nelson plant.

The Alliance Group's Nelson plant. Photo: Alliance Group

The farmer owned co-operative's profit - for the year ending September - was based on a turnover of $1.36 billion, and was up 28 percent on its profit last year of $7.9 million.

Alliance chair Murray Taggert said it had been a challenging year of difficult global market conditions, but the weather had favoured farmers.

The co-operative has cut its debt from $129 million to $41 million, and was in the early stages of transforming the business to take better advantage of global opportunities.

Alliance Group chief executive David Surveyor said this strategy had strengthened the balance sheet.

"We've been running a very significant transformational programme which has been operationalised through about 128 projects and those strategy projects have been delivering value over and above where we thought they would, so they're actually delivered about $56 million this year.

"The changes we are making to the business are starting to get some traction."

Mr Surveyor said it had been a tough year.

"If you look at the prices for sheep meat this year they've been some of the lowest we've seen over five years. Since May we have seen a little recovery, but unfortunatelyu the gains from those have been offset by the changes in foreign exchange rates."

He said the 9.8m in dividends will be divied up between shareholders.

"The way that our distribution will operate is that based on animal supply to the co-operative there will be a payment per head back to our farmers."