Saturday, December 2, 2023

Zespri profit falls 34% in bruising year

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Dwindling sales, skinnier margins take their toll.
Quality costs ‘significantly impacted’ grower returns, the kiwifruit marketer says.
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Zespri International posted a 34.1% decline in annual profit as lower sales volumes and more expensive freight and labour squeezed margins.  

Net profit fell to $237.8 million in the 12 months ended March, from $361.5m, on a 5.6% dip in annual revenue to $4.22 billion. Global sales volumes shrank 8.9% to 183.5 million trays while licence income dropped to $308.1m from $436.7m.  

Payments to growers fell to $2.24bn from $2.47bn. Returns per tray for Green and SunGold kiwifruit fell below Zespri’s forecast, along with returns for organics at the lower end. Fruit quality costs rose to $534.1m from $306.8m.  

“This was one of our toughest-ever seasons and the industry worked incredibly hard to deliver our fruit to market, despite facing an extraordinary number of challenges including a significant labour shortage,” CEO Dan Mathieson said. 

“We continued to see strong demand and pricing in market and secured more than $100m in savings via our foreign exchange hedging policy. However, quality costs have significantly impacted grower returns, which have dropped from the highs recorded in recent seasons.” 

The board approved a final dividend of 18 cents per share, taking the annual return to $1.17, down from $1.78 in the prior year.

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