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Turners & Growers in talks with suitors, triples 1H profit

Turners & Growers in talks with potential buyers, triples 1H profit

By Paul McBeth

Aug. 29 (BusinessDesk) – Turners & Growers Ltd., the fruit marketer controlled by Guinness Peat Group, tripled first-half profit and flagged better annual earnings, as its major shareholder talks to potential buyers of the stake.

The Auckland-based company made a net profit of $6.9 million, or 5.05 cents per share, in the six months ended June 30, more than triple its $2.2 million, or 1.56 cents, a year earlier. Revenue surged 14% to $331 million, beating Forsyth Barr analyst John Cairns’ forecast of $299.5 million, though earnings before interest and tax fell 8.9% to $9.2 million.

“Prices have been high in recent months due to a lack of imported product from Australia as a result of adverse weather conditions and a good export season,” the company said in a statement. “It is anticipated that Turners & Growers will produce an improved operating result for the full year.”

GPG, which owns about 64% of T&G, is winding down its business and last week said it has completed a review of its T&G ownership and has “engaged through its advisers with a number of parties.” The size of the stake would need a full takeover bid, or need an exemption from the Takeovers Panel.

T&G said it has “engaged with a number of parties which have expressed interest in the business.”

The board didn’t declare an interim dividend, and the shares were unchanged at $1.71 in trading today and have gained 14% this year.

Earlier this month, the High Court in Auckland threw out T&G’s claim that state-mandated kiwifruit marketing monopoly Zespri Ltd. had abused its market position to stifle export markets.

T&G said its board and management are considering the “most effective manner to gain access from New Zealand” for its kiwifruit exports.


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