3 Nov 2008

Profit turnaround for meat co-operative

3:18 pm on 3 November 2008

Silver Fern Farms is back in the black.

The Dunedin-based meat co-operative has reported a net profit for the past financial year of more than $37 million, after tax and the distribution of shareholder rebates and dividends.

That compares with a loss of $79 million the previous year, adjusted to comply with new international financial reporting standards.

Silver Fern says it returned to profitability on the strength of a more favourable exchange rate, increased livestock throughput and cost-cutting measures that have included the closure of several processing plants.

It paid $11.5 million in rebates for stock supplied and a 10 cent cash dividend to farmers holding supplier investment shares. Debt was reduced by $91 million.

Chairman Eoin Garden says the company's profit margins for the current year may be lower, because of a reduced livestock supply and the higher prices it's paying.