Zespri reports strong year despite lower volumes

New Zealand‘s kiwifruit giant Zespri has reported a lift in earnings for the 2017-18 season, despite the volume of kiwifruit sold falling by 11 percent during that period.

Zespri sold record numbers of SunGold this season Photo: 123RF

Production volumes suffered because of a cloudy summer, which deprived the fruit of vital sunshine at a key time in the year.

In addition, frosts in Italy affected its crop being grown there in partnership with local growers.

Despite that, the bottom line has improved for Zespri, with global kiwifruit sales rising six percent, to $2.3 billion compared to to $2.2bn the previous year.

Zespri chairman Peter McBride said the uplift in value reflected strong consumer demand and excellent market performance.

“We sold a record volume of SunGold while growing returns at both per-tray and per-hectare levels. Supply of Green and Organic Green reduced considerably from the exceptionally high volume of the previous year, but very strong consumer demand more than offset the impact on per-hectare returns for Green and mitigated the impact on Organic Green per-hectare returns.

“The industry‘s performance during the last season reinforces our confidence in our strategy and potential for strong and sustainable growth,” he said.

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson Photo: Zespri

Zespri chief executive Dan Mathieson said the 2017/18 season represented good progress, and the company was now looking forward to growth in kiwifruit volume.

“We are anticipating record production of New Zealand and non-New Zealand kiwifruit this year driven by increasing supply of SunGold and a recovery in supply of Green,” he said.

Mr Mathieson said Zespri was on track to reach it‘s target of lifting sales to $4.5bn by 2025.