NZ: Seeka annual report reflects hardship of Psa

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NZ: Seeka annual report reflects hardship of Psa

Vine-killing disease Psa made its mark on the 2012 annual report for New Zealand's kiwifruit service Seeka. The orchard and postharvest company highlighted the challenges of the disease throughout its financial results.kiwi_26041756

Total operating revenue decreased 22%, down to NZ$108.3 million (US$90.7 million) from the previous period. The drop is attributed in large part to lower postharvest and orchard volumes following Psa-affected Zespri Gold removal.

Processed gold kiwifruit volume decreased to 3.3 million trays down from 6.4 million the previous year. Volume for long-term lease orchards declined to 670,000 trays from 1.5 million. No trays were recorded for Zespri Gold for such orchards.

EBITDA produced better results, coming in at NZ$15.5 million (US$13 million) compared to NZ$11.3 million (US$9.5 million). Positive earnings before taxes were NZ$7.4 million (US$6.2 million), up from a NZ$7.3 million (US$6.1 million) loss the year before.

Debt reduction was a major focus for the year. The company's total bank debt came in at NZ$23 million (US$19.2 million), including NZ$2.4 million (US$2 million) in personal debt. Seeka cash deposits of NZ$5.2 million (US$4.3 million) brought the number down to NZ$17.8 million (US$14.9 million) for a total decline of 40%

In part of its debt reduction efforts, the company withheld dividend payment for the period. A fully imputed dividend of NZ$0.06 (US$0.05) per share is set to be paid on March 20 to shareholders registered before 5 p.m. on March 13, 2013.

Seeka highlighted its efforts to adapt to Psa to help the business grow.

"During the period Seeka has implemented its strategy to enable the company to weather the impact of Psa on the
industry. The company is now in a stronger financial position, with significantly lower debt and leaner operating cost
structures. It is well positioned in an environment with continuing Psa, intense competition, decreasing gold fruit volumes, and an uncertain industry pathway to recovery," the company said in its financial report.

In particular, Seeka said that throughout the year, it had focused on selling surplus assets, reducing debt, restructuring operations to lower costs and limiting capital expenditure.

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