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Apple exporter lifts annual profit 6pc

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 27/02/2017 Tina Morrison

<span style="font-size:13px;">Apple export Scales has reaped benefits from its expansion programme, lifing its 2016 annual profit by 6 per cent.</span> © Getty Images Apple export Scales has reaped benefits from its expansion programme, lifing its 2016 annual profit by 6 per cent. Scales Corp, New Zealand's biggest apple exporter, has boosted profit 6 per cent as it benefited from expanding its business.

Profit increased to $38.2 million in calendar 2016, from $35.9m in 2015, the Christchurch-based company said on Tuesday.

Revenue rose 24 per cent to $373.9m. The previous year's results were restated to reflect a change in accounting policy for its apple trees.

Scales last year acquired Hawke's Bay apple grower, packer and marketer Longview, secured China Resources Ng Fung as a strategic 15 per cent shareholder, improving its network and access to the Chinese market, and lifted its shareholding in apple marketing business Fern Ridge produce to about 73 per cent.

Its growth helped elevate its status on the stock exchange, moving it into the benchmark S&P/NZX50 Index, making it more visible to investors.

The company picked more than half a billion apples during the year, lifting the volume exported and the average price as it benefited from favourable international demand.

"Our horticulture and food ingredients divisions produced excellent results, whilst our storage and logistics division produced another consistent outcome," chairman Jon Mayson said.

Its shares rose 0.6 per cent to $3.52, and have surged 56 per cent over the past year.

The company lifted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation 6.9 per cent to $67.3m. Mr Mayson reaffirmed ebitda for the 2017 year of between $55m and $62m, saying apple picking had recently begun and early indications were positive with very good sweetness, colour and fruit size.

The company's net debt increased to $34.6m from $16.2m the previous year.

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