Record payout for CRT co-operative

SUBSTANTIAL PLAYER: The 49 year-old company operates 31 stores across the South Island.
SUBSTANTIAL PLAYER: The 49 year-old company operates 31 stores across the South Island.

South Island farming co-operative Combined Rural Traders (CRT) is to return a record $9.75 million to its shareholders, after revealing turnover climbed 18 per cent to $1.3 billion.

The 49 year-old company operates 31 stores across the South Island, while its charge cards offer discounts to members at thousands of retailers.

CRT has in recent years become a substantial player in fuel retailing, through its ownership of Challenge, a fuel distribution business previously owned by Chevron.

It has more than 26,000 mainly farmer shareholders, who receive rebates in proportion to their use of CRT's services.

Profits before tax and rebates to shareholders rose 55 per cent to $13.15m in the financial year ended March 31.

Chairman Don McFarlane said the results demonstrated CRT ''was still achieving its reason for being''.

"While the business base has grown over the years, the co-operative has been totally committed to its founding objective of improving the profitability of its shareholders."

Chief executive Brent Esler said the growth in the recent period came almost entirely from its existing operations, with the establishment of the Gulf oil distribution business and a new rural supplies store in Hokitika the only additions to the business.

Since 2008 CRT's revenues have more than doubled.

BusinessDay.co.nz