27 Feb 2013

First dividend in nearly 4 years from PGG Wrightson

11:49 am on 27 February 2013

PGG Wrightson will pay its first dividend in nearly four years after its half year profit rose by more than half.

The rural services company, which is majority owned by Agria of China, made $4.8 million in the six months to December, an increase of 55% compared with the same period a year ago.

Gross earnings fell 18% to 18 million.

Chief executive George Gould said the company has halved its debt levels to $103 million, due to collecting Crafar farms' debt, stronger earnings and carrying less inventory.

Mr Gould said its seeds, retail, wool and irrigation and pump businesses did well.

Lookingg ahead, he expects a higher full year profit than last year's $24.5 million, but Australia and future stock values could derail that.

The company will pay an interim dividend of 2.2 cents per share.