6 May 2013

PSA hits profit of kiwifruit supplier

10:26 am on 6 May 2013

The country's biggest kiwifruit packer and supplier, EastPack, has announced a reduced profit for the past year, reflecting the impact of the bacterial vine disease PSA.

The co-operative, which merged with Satara this year, recorded profit for the past financial year of $7.5 million before tax. That compares with a $10.6 million net profit in 2011.

Revenue dropped from more than $80 million to less than $68 million.

EastPack chief executive Tony Hawken says that is due to a reduced export crop and moves to cut costs to its growers.

He says EastPack was the largest packer and cool storer of the Hort 16A variety and PSA had a fairly major effect on its volumes in 2012, and an even larger effect in 2013.

Mr Hawken says the company also decided to reduce packing charges to its growers, which was a strategic move aimed at putting more money into growers' pockets as quickly as possible at the time.

He says it also enabled EastPack to track any business in the market that was as a result of reduced pricing.

Mr Hawken says this year's crop will also be down on earlier estimates, due to the combined effects of drought on fruit size and further losses from PSA, but in terms of fruit flavour, it's one of the best seasons ever.