24 Feb 2015

PGG Wrightson posts outstanding half-year result

2:37 pm on 24 February 2015

The rural services company PGG Wrightson has posted its strongest half year result in seven years.

It reported a lift in net profit after tax of more than $6 million, to $19.7 million, from a three percent lift in revenue.

Chief Executive Mark Dewdney said the results were anchored by improvements in PGW's three largest businesses: retail, livestock and seed and grain.

He said that it had been achieved despite factors such as the slump in milk prices which have hit dairy farmers' incomes.

"Collectively, New Zealand dairy farmers today are expecting approximately five billion less revenue in the 2015 season than they did in 2014.

"This didn't materially affect spending patterns through the critical spring selling season, but we are seeing a slight moderation in demand over the summer for some of our products and services across the dairy sector.

"On the other hand, and less widely publicised, beef prices have been much higher than historical levels.

"Similarly, confidence in the sheep, horticulture and viticulture sectors has been solid, although we have seen the schedule for sheepmeat ease back in recent months, largely as a consequence of dry weather."

Mark Dewdney said a $3.6 million increase in its seed and grain operating profit reflected higher demand for supplementary forage crops in New Zealand, such as fodder beet, brassicas and herbs.

He said despite the headwinds facing the agricultural sector, PGW were also cautiously optimistic about the rest of the financial year.

The company has declared a two cents a share dividend.