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Zespri forecasts record profit from Gold3

NZN 24/04/2017 Tina Morrison

Zespri International, the country's kiwifruit export marketing body, expects to post a record profit this year due to increased revenue from the allocation of licences to grow the Gold3 variety.

The Mount Maunganui-based company forecast net profit of between $98 million and $103 million in the year ending March 31, 2018, it said in a letter to growers and shareholders.

That's ahead of its expectation for the 12 months ended March 31 this year of between $71m and $74m, and up from a profit of $35.8m in 2016.

Zespri attributed the expected ramp up in profit to revenue coming from the 2017 allocation of licences for 400 hectares of its new Gold3 variety.

The new variety, also called SunGold, has proven popular as it is more resistant to the Pseudomonas syringae pv actinadiae bacteria, better known as PSA, which decimated the industry some six years ago.

By the end of June 2012, more than 35 per cent of New Zealand kiwifruit orchards were infected. SunGold, first commercialised in 2010, was key to the sector's recovery.

Late last year Zespri announced it would sell licences for another 400 hectares of the SunGold variety this year, with a further 400 hectares to be released in 2018, 2019 and 2020 subject to the product's performance and global demand.

Zespri shares last traded at $4.60, their highest level since trading in the stock was moved to the Unlisted share trading platform in February 2016.

Zespri shares can only be owned by growers, with voting rights dependent on production.

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