By Sophie Boot
Dec. 14 (BusinessDesk) - Alliance Group, the world's biggest sheepmeat exporter, will pay $11.4 million to its farmer shareholders this week, after a year where it doubled annual earnings as sales rose 15 percent with a recovery in global meat prices.
At the company's annual meeting in Te Anau today, chair Murray Taggart said Alliance will make the pool distribution payments on Dec. 15, according to an emailed statement. The distribution will be paid at $1.80 per head for lambs, $1 per head for sheep, $10 per head for cattle, $7.50 per head for deer, and $1 per head for calves.
The Invercargill-based company's operating earnings rose to $20.2 million in the year ended Sept. 30 from $10.1 million a year earlier. The $11.4 million payment to its 5,000 farmer shareholders is up from $9.8 million in the prior year. Revenue rose to $1.53 billion from $1.36 billion.
Taggart said today that the company experienced a more positive trading environment during 2017
"Although market volatility and weather events remain a constant threat, the level of supply and demand for our farmers’ produce look set to underpin strong pricing, particularly for sheepmeat and venison," he said. "However, we are acutely aware of the impact the drier conditions are having on our farmers’ businesses and we’ve responded by bringing on additional processing capacity across our plant network."
Chief executive David Surveyor said the company's key priorities are growing the value-add part of the business and capturing more value from the global market. Alliance has invested in developing a food service business in the UK and purchased the Goldkiwi Asia business in Singapore, now known as Alliance Asia.
"Strengthening Alliance’s in-market presence is vital if we are to capture greater value and these investments are only the first steps down this path," Surveyor said. "Our $800,000 investment in a new blood processing facility at our Mataura plant is just the start. We have a number of other exciting value capture projects underway."