Seeka has posted a net profit (after tax) of NZ$7.42m over the 2018 calendar year, up 27 per cent on its performance in 2017.
In an statement issued via the New Zealand Exchange (NZX), the leading Australasian fresh produce company said it achieved a “number of financial, operational, and strategic goals” over the 12 month period.
This included a NZ$47.9m (net) capital raise in November 2018, which reduced Seeka’s borrowing from a high of NZ$105m.
In its core kiwifruit business, Seeka harvested and packed a total of 31.4m trays in New Zealand, an increase of 23 per cent on 2017. This included 10.8m trays of Zespri SunGold.
A list of key investments included the purchase of T&G Global’s kiwifruit packhouse, orchards, and related business in New Zealand’s Northland region.
“This significant and successful acquisition was the result of substantial planning as Seeka sought to grow its Northland operations alongside its loyal grower base,” according to the NZX statement. “The business seamlessly transitioned mid-harvest, and performed operationally and financially to expectations.”
Seeka will invest close to NZ$20m in the construction of a new packhouse, packing machine and coolstores at the Northland facility over the next two years. It will also work on boosting the packing and storage capacity at its Oakside site.
The listed-company purchased 19.9ha of Zespri SunGold licence for NZ$5.66m in 2018, which will be grafted over coming years.
Seeka faced a challenging year in Australia, headlined by a confirmed detection of the Psa-V disease in a small area of its kiwifruit orchards in the Goulburn Valley.
While the company said this had little impact on 2018 earnings, Seeka was forced to take proactive and immediate steps to limit the impact, based on the experience it gained on New Zealand orchards. The presence of Psa-V has led Seeka to reconsider the varietal mix on its Austalian kiwifruit orchards.
The company is confident an orchard development plan, together with management changes, will provide a positive outlook for the Australian business in years to come.