Zespri has reported an eight per cent increase in New Zealand-grown fruit and service payments for the 2019/2020 season, meaning nearly NZ$2 billion has been returned to the local kiwifruit industry.
And 2020/2021 is shaping up as another strong year, according to Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson.
Releasing its financial performance results for 2019/2020 in mid-June, Zespri reported total operating revenue was NZ$3.36 billion, up from NZ$3.14 billion, with global revenue from fruit sales increasing by seven per cent to NZ$3.14 billion. This was based on the sale of 164.4 million trays of NZ and non-NZ-grown kiwifruit, a two per cent reduction on the previous year.
And strong results were achieved across each fruit category. The average Green per-tray return increased to NZ$6.67, with the average per ha return for Green reaching a record high of NZ$67,295.
Organic Green reached an average return per-tray of NZ$9.88, with the average per ha return reaching NZ$63,734. The SunGold average return per tray increased to NZ$11.86, and the average return per ha was also a record NZ$161,660. Sweet Green achieved an average return per-tray of NZ$7.66 and an average return per ha of NZ$43,550.
Zespri’s Net profit after tax was NZ$200.8 million, up from $179.8 million in 2018/2019. The Board expects the total dividend for 2019/2020 to be $0.94 per share, up slightly from $0.92 in 2018/2019.
Zespri chairman Bruce Cameron says the results are incredibly encouraging for the industry and the wider NZ economy during a time of so much economic uncertainty.
“Working with the NZ industry, we’ve continued to strengthen Zespri’s reputation for providing the world’s leading portfolio of branded kiwifruit for 12 months of the year, which drives stronger returns for NZ growers and our communities.
“The result reflects the hard work Zespri and the industry are undertaking to both grow supply and add value through a world-leading brand and a premium product,” says Bruce.
Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson says it was an incredibly encouraging year, with the industry working hard in NZ and the markets to manage quality and deliver more than five billion pieces of Zespri kiwifruit worldwide.
“Overall, 2019/2020 was another strong year for Zespri with continued growth in our largest markets including Japan, Greater China and Europe.
“On top of strong returns we achieved some real milestones last season including commercialising the new Zespri Red kiwifruit variety, opening our new head office in Mount Maunganui, launching our new brand, announcing our sustainability targets and investing more than ever in communities.
“Within our business, we’ve focused on creating more value and continuing to put consumers even more in the centre of our decision-making.
“We’ve also made excellent progress in building our business for the future and investing in the systems we need to continue to grow.”
Dan says this coming season is “one of our best-ever tasting crops and largest by volume, albeit with smaller Green due to the dry weather” and that demand worldwide is significant, driven both by Zespri’s investment in sales and marketing and by demand for safe, healthy foods high in Vitamin C.
“We’re continuing to see strong growth in our largest markets, including Japan, China and Spain, and making real progress in newer ones like the US and also continuing our efforts to get closer to consumers and to broaden our sales channels.
“Some sales restrictions remain including on ‘point of sale’ promotions in some markets but our teams have adapted, with a greater focus on in-home media and the health benefits of Zespri kiwifruit, and of course our new brand is looking outstanding.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the support we received from our communities in NZ during the Covid-19, lockdown which helped with this year’s harvest.
“Risks to our outlook include wider concerns around consumer purchasing power being negatively affected by the global economic turmoil, changes to the normal flow of fruit trade and also potential disruption across our global supply chains.
“Zespri remains focused on ensuring we’re able to respond to such eventualities and on delivering returns to growers,” says Dan.