28 Feb 2012

Psa contributes to Turners and Growers' loss

6:32 am on 28 February 2012

Fresh produce company Turners & Growers says the kiwifruit disease Psa has contributed to its books sinking into the red.

For the past year the listed company has reported a loss of $18.9 million, as against a $6.3 million profit the previous year.

It says it had to write down the value of its orchards and properties by almost

$21 million in 2011, because of the high New Zealand dollar and poor pipfruit grower returns, caused by a drop in demand from its main apple markets in the UK and Europe.

Managing director Jeff Wesley says another reason for the write down was the spread of the kiwifruit disease Psa, which now infects a third of the country's orchards.

While there is no Psa-V in Kerikeri where the company has its biggest orchard, he says, the valuers have taken the view that it may reach that location at some point, so have written down the value of orchards.

Mr Wesley, who has announced he will step down as managing director of Turners & Growers, has been at the helm since 2005.

Turners & Growers is currently the subject of a $216 million takeover offer by German agricultural trading company BayWa.

The offer closes on 7 March 2012.