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Saturday 25 June 2022

Seeka doubles profit, pays down debt

1st March 2021 By Bridget O'Connell | | @foodtickernz

Australasian produce handler Seeka has more than doubled its annual profit posting a $15.2m net profit after tax for the year to December 2020.

The 120% hike on the previous year’s $6.9m comes on the back of a 6% rise in revenue to $251.5m driven by a strong performance from its New Zealand retail service operation.

This division, which comprising marketing fruit from post harvest operations, retail and ripening imported fruit, and Kiwi Crush production, saw revenue leap 77% to $21.8m and EBITDA rise 80% to $3m.

The Te Puke-headquartered group’s Australian operations – comprising the growing, packing and retailing of kiwifruit and other Australian produce on owned and leased orchards – also had a good year with revenue up 13% to $13.1m.

Australian EBITDA moved from a $600,000 loss in 2019 to $6.3m largely due to a $6.2m gain from the sale and leaseback of three kiwifruit orchards.

In New Zealand, its orchard operations, which span kiwifruit, avocado and kiwiberry, saw revenue lift 5% to a record $75.7m and EBITDA up 9% to $5.4m.

Its post-harvest operations – packing, cool storing and shipping the orchard produce – had the worst year with drought hitting kiwifruit volumes and Covid protocols and labour shortages increasing costs. As a result, revenue was flat at $140m and EBITDA up just 2% to $41.9m.

Seeka took advantage of the strong year to pay down $38.9m of debt, with net bank debt falling 33% in the year.

“Seeka delivered excellent performance for growers, consumers and investors in 2020,” Seeka chief executive Michael Franks said.

“The company generated higher profit, lowered debt and maintained shareholder dividends. Our customers were delighted with the quality of our produce.”

A dividend of 12c a share will be paid at the end of March.



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