Comvita to expand Aussie olive production

Last updated 12:21 23/01/2013

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Health and beauty products company Comvita has bought an 85 hectare olive estate in south east Queensland to help meet demand for its olive leaf extract product.

Comvita's Australian subsidiary completed the purchase of Organic Olives Company in Coominya last week, but the company said in a statement the price was confidential.

The new purchase, situated on the shores of Lake Wivenhoe, already has 7000 certified organic olive trees. Comvita said the land was highly suitable for further planting of specialist trees suited to production of its organically certified Olive Leaf Extract (OLE).

The company said a recent clinical trial by The Liggins Institute at the University of Auckland has shown Comvita's OLE improved the secretion of insulin and the activity of insulin in overweight men. Insulin that does not work effectively can lead to diabetes.

The results of the trial have been submitted by The Liggins Institute for peer review and publication.

"We expect there will be increased interest in Comvita products as a result of the trial," Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett said

"Together with fully developing our existing property, the development of our new purchase will provide the capacity to increase supply over the next five years by approximately 130 per cent."

Hewlett said the company was looking at further clinical trials on the effects of OLE.

Comvita kicked off its olive leaf business when it bought Olive Products Australia, owner of a 500,000 tree olive grove also in southern Queensland, in 2007 for about $30 million.

Last May, the company announced a net profit of $8.2m, up from $503,000 in 2011.

Sales for that year rose to $96m from $82m and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) jumped 145 per cent to $15.5m from $6.3m.

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