Lower dollar boosts Seeka results

01:43, Jan 31 2009

Fruit grower and exporter Seeka Kiwifruit Industries has reported a 47 percent rise in profit for the six months to September, boosted by the lower New Zealand dollar and improvements in its harvesting process.

The profit after tax for the half year was $8.4 million, compared with $5.7m in 2007 for the same period.

Seeka said a return to profitability in its orchard division, combined with significantly lower fruit losses and improved supply delivery had contributed to half year profit.

"Orchard earnings benefited from increased fruit earnings from Zespri [the kiwifruit exporting body] as a direct result of the lower value of the New Zealand dollar against key trading currencies," the company said today.

Zespri International - which controls all the exports of kiwifruits beyond Australia - shipped its 100 millionth tray of fruit earlier this month, which it says makes this a record season for the industry.

Zespri manages 30 per cent of internationally-traded kiwifruit, supplies 52 countries and represents over 3000 New Zealand growers of green and gold and organic kiwifruit.


Despite a jump in the overseas trade deficit to $1.2 billion in September, Statistics New Zealand said an 8 per cent rise in exports had been driven by kiwifruit, iron, steel and white wine.

Chief financial officer Stuart McKinstry said while Seeka had benefited from the dramatic decline in the value of the dollar, uncertainty remained over the flow on effects of a global recession.

The directors advised that they now expected the full year profit to be in the range of $4.8m and $5.4m, slightly above the guidance of $4.4m-$5.2m provided at the company's annual meeting in August.

"Provided there is no significant market collapse then the positive outlook for kiwifruit remains," McKinstry said.

Seeka will be paying an interim dividend of 12 cents per share, with an imputation credit of 5.285 cents.