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Good Year For Satara

March 11, 2005

Good Year For Satara

NZAX-listed Satara has announced a 14.6 per cent increase in operating surplus before tax and rebates, to $4.260 million for 2004.

Chief executive Brian Bilas attributes the profitable year to Satara packing a record 11.182 million trays of kiwifruit and the increased efficiencies in its packhouses and coolstores arising from its capital expenditure programme.

"Those investments have meant Satara's fruit loss has been significantly better than the rest of the industry, which means higher returns for Satara growers.

"The packing and coolstorage efficiencies have also enabled a 6.6 per cent increase in the rebate for transactor shareholders to 32 cents per tray of class one kiwifruit packed."

Bilas says the company plans to invest strongly again in 2005 to ensure fruit loss statistics remain low.

However, while increased efficiencies saw the co-operative's transactor shareholder rebates increase, earnings for investor shares were down which Bilas attributes directly to a significant fall in Zespri income.

"With Zespri payouts down substantially, the leased orchard division of Satara was adversely affected financially which meant the net surplus after tax fell from $1.333 million to $1.097 million."

Unfortunately Zespri is advising 2005 kiwifruit prices may fall further.

"Lowered payouts will again adversely affect the industry as a whole. We are confident our strategy of sensible management, steadily working to plan, and further improved plant and packhouse efficiencies will at least partially mitigate the adverse events facing us," Bilas says.

The company has announced a fully imputed dividend of six cents per share, the same as 2003.

ENDS


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