Friday, December 8, 2023

Non-compliance docks Alliance’s profit

Neal Wallace
A $20 million provision to settle historic employee entitlements has taken the gloss off the Alliance Group’s annual result for 2019-20.
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Murray Taggart | November 23, 2020 from GlobalHQ on Vimeo.

The underlying pre-tax profit was $27.4m but adjusting for the partial non-compliance known as doffing and donning, has reduced that to $7.5m on record turnover of $1.8 billion.

This compares with a $20.1m pre-tax profit in 2019 on turnover of $1.7b.

Chair Murray Taggart says there will be no profit distribution this year given a challenging operating environment.

The doffing and donning provision stems from successful legal action by the NZ Meat Workers Union for financial recognition of the time lost to workers as they changed out of and into safety gear after meal breaks.

Taggart described the co-operative’s financial performance as credible given the disruption and volatility in global markets caused by covid-19.

“The co-operative has faced challenges on many fronts,” he said.

“Like many businesses, we have been impacted by the pandemic, however our farmers also experienced extreme weather including drought, snow and flooding in parts of the country and difficult growing conditions.

“These on-farm challenges also flowed through to the co-operative.

Chief executive David Surveyor says the result excludes money the company may be eligible for under the Government Wage Subsidy Scheme.

“Alliance and the Ministry of Social Development are currently working in a principled and constructive manner to resolve the amount Alliance is entitled to retain,” he said.

“None of this amount will be recognised until discussions with the Ministry of Social Development are complete.

“The co-operative has already returned money that was not required for the purpose of retaining jobs and income.”

Surveyor commended staff for their response to the challenges during the year.

It increased its market share for all species but especially cattle, with numbers growing 50% over the last five years reaching 300,000 this year.

Investment during the year includes projects to lift capacity at the Smithfield and Dannevirke plants and a $5m programme to reconfigure the venison plant at Lorneville near Invercargill so it can also process cattle.

Alliance is also investing $12.5m in new processing technology at Lorneville and another $3.2m to upgrade the plant’s Engine Room 2.

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