Record payout by LIC

Livestock Improvement (LIC) farmer-shareholders will be paid a record dividend of $16.75 million for the 2012-2013 year.

That contrasts with the $11.9m the dairy farmer co-operative paid last year and $13.6m in 2011.

Chairman Murray King said the record dividend followed improved sales across most business areas which resulted in earnings - before interest, taxation and fair value adjustments on elite biological assets - increasing 42 per cent from $19.25m in 2011-2012 to $27.29m.

LIC's net profit after tax of $23.7m was down $700,000 on the previous year.

The fall in net profit after tax was due to a lower annual valuation of LIC's biological elite bull team, which is not included in the dividend.

LIC's underlying net earnings increased from $14.99m to $20.93m this year.

That flows through to the record dividend being paid out.

The company's balance sheet totalled $275.5m, an increase of $15m over the previous year with a stable equity ratio of 75 per cent.

Cash flows generated $25.8m, compared with $27.7m in 2011/2012.

Purchases of tangible and intangible assets increased from $18.35m to $23.97m as the co-operative ramped up its investment in innovative products for farmers and technology upgrades.

King said last year's drought provided farmers with a special set of problems, with many needing to shorten the dairy season and dry herds off early.

"This resulted in a decrease in the number of herd tests carried out by LIC during autumn 2013."