Turners & Growers back in the black

Last updated 05:00 01/03/2014

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Fruit and vegetable firm Turners & Growers has pulled off a dramatic turnaround by delivering a full year profit of $16.2 million.

The result, driven by a massive boost in exports, reverses a $15.3m loss last year.

The NZX-listed company said revenue for the 12 months to December 31 rose 8.8 per cent to $734m, from $669m the previous year.

While the 2012 result was dented by $29m in asset writedowns, exports have been the key to Turners & Growers' profitability this year.

The export segment profit has risen fivefold from $2.9m in 2012 to $15.6m. This was mainly due to better market conditions, access to new markets and customers, and cost reductions, the company said.

Turners & Growers' domestic business experienced tough market conditions in the second quarter of year with low margins on imported produce and weak prices for tomatoes, chairman Klaus Lutz said.

However strong performance in the final quarter, especially in bananas, pipfruit and crates, helped achieve an increase in the domestic segment's profit to $3.6m compared with $1.5m in the previous year.

The long, warm autumn resulted in lower tomato prices in the second quarter, but Lutz said Turners & Growers apple orchards' performance in 2013 was "outstanding" in the yield and quality of fruit which "contributed to a very good result."

While citrus crops were small in volume and size for almost all varieties, the kiwifruit crop was higher in volume and quality.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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