18 Nov 2011

Silver Fern Farms returns $40.6 million profit

6:59 am on 18 November 2011

The country's biggest meat processor and exporter Silver Fern Farms has returned to profit.

The co-operative made $40.6 million in the year to the end of September, compared with a loss of $8 million in the previous year.

Revenue rose 17% to $2.1 billion, due in part to higher global prices for meat.

Silver Fern Farms will pay a total of $14.5 million to its supplier-shareholders for the year.

CEO says result follows challenging year

Silver Fern Farms' chief executive Keith Cooper says the result follows a challenging year which included the Christchurch earthquakes, spring storms, a fire at its Te Aroha plant and the volatile New Zealand dollar.

He says the company has also just undergone a three-year restructuring programme.

Mr Cooper says meat prices have risen and the company's now well set up for growth.

He says the markets are looking relatively stable and in general terms the world's demand for quality protein is growing and the world's supply is decreasing, so New Zealand is well-positioned to capture this.

Mr Cooper says the repayment of debt over the last three years has also helped to strengthen the company's balance sheet.

He says there's been significant interest bill over recent years, but that has now decreased markedly as a result of lower debt levels coupled with lower interest rates and it completes the company's balance sheet restructuring.