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Bee products make a breakthrough in West Australia

11 August 2005

Apples may be out, but bee products make a breakthrough in Western Australia

Western Australia has approved market access for several New Zealand honey-derived products.

New Zealand's natural health care company, Comvita Limited, has secured state approval to sell 28 products.

The approval applies to propolis and processed products, not raw honey. They include Comvita's medical honey dressings.

Comvita's consumer division manager, Scott Coulter, says the products include ones with no honey or low-honey content with which the bees have not been in direct contact as a result of processing.

Coulter says Comvita's sales in Australia have grown 50% in the first half of this year, and sales in the new WA market are targeted to make 10% of the firm's total Australian revenues.

WA restricts bee product imports because of the risk they may introduce European Foulbrood. Comvita's access results from a successful application for a risk assessment by the WA chief veterinary officer.

Comvita, based at Paengaroa in the central Bay of Plenty, increased revenues by 4.9% to $14.5 million in its half year ending 30 June. Exports now make up 60% of all the firm's sales and grew by 30% in New Zealand dollar terms during the half year. Strong growth is being enjoyed in its main UK market, and in markets being opened in Taiwan, China and Japan. The firm is one of 21 finalists for the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Export Award, being announced tonight (11 August).

ENDS

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