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Seeka packs record kiwifruit volumes in NZ

NZN 21/06/2016 Sophie Boot

Seeka Kiwifruit Industries said it handled record volumes in the latest packing season, exceeding 30 million trays handled in New Zealand for the first time.

The Te Puke-based kiwifruit grower, the largest in Australia and New Zealand, has finished kiwifruit packing in both countries for the 2016 season, and is now storing kiwifruit in New Zealand and selling them in Australia, it said in a statement to the NZX.

New Zealand volumes rose 17 per cent to 30.8 million trays in the 2016 season, with four of the six varieties of kiwifruit Seeka processes improving on a tray equivalents basis.

Seeka packed 7.4 million equivalent trays of the gold-fleshed Sungold variety, up 91 per cent on 2015. It packed 37,000 trays of another golden kiwifruit, Hort 16A, down from 405,000 a year earlier, and no trays of the Charm variety, compared to 87,000 in 2015.

In Australia, where Seeka has expanded, kiwifruit volumes were behind expectations, but have sold well, Seeka said. The company processed 580,000 trays of the fruit, lower than the 689,000 trays it had expected.

Seeka bought the remaining half share in Pollen Australia and its acquisition of the orcharding and business assets of Bunbartha Fruit Packers in August 2015.

That acquisition made the company the largest single producer and supplier of nashi pears and kiwifruit in Australia. Nashi pears are still being packed and the selling programme is expected to be completed in October, the company said.

In February, Seeka reported its annual profit had increased 35 per cent to $4.3 million as volumes recover from the impact of the Psa-V vine disease and it received insurance money from a fire at its largest packhouse facility.

It expects to report on its first six months earnings and give commentary on Aug. 25, it said on Wednesday.

The shares last traded at $4.40, and have gained 28 per cent this year.

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