Australia: Costa Group exceeds prospectus forecast for FY2015
In an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Costa said its Pro forma revenue was 2.7% higher than the forecast at AUD$723.5 million, while net profit after tax stood at AUD$4.6 million.
The group's core produce segment encompassing berries, mushrooms, tomatoes and citrus delivered a 10.1% Pro forma revenue increase of AUD$48.8 million on the 2014 financial year.
Costa CEO Harry Debney said the results vindicated the strategy pursued by the company in recent years, including key investments in four core categories and a focus on protective cropping, intellectual property and brand development.
"Today Costa is Australia's largest horticultural company built on sustainable foundations with a robust portfolio of integrated farming, packing and marketing categories," Debney said.
"Our selected fresh categories represent highly attractive products sought by consumers for flavour, convenience and perceived health benefits.
"This portfolio provides a platform for growth as well as ensuring a diverse spread of production and markets to mitigate agricultural risk."
He said Costa was well positioned to capitalize on continued growth opportunities in the 2016 financial year, with a new 10-hectare tomato glasshouse starting full production and a first harvest expected this October.
"Expansion of our Australian berry plantings, where we now have farms in four states has further positioned the Company as a truly national year round supplier of premium berries to the domestic market," he added.
A further 24 hectares of blueberries were planted by Costa's African Blue joint venture in Morocco during FY2015, taking the total in the North African country up to 182 hectares of protected blueberry plantings. It is expected these developments will help African Blue grow its category share in the European market.
The group said a joint venture with Driscoll's in China growing blueberries and raspberries was also on target to expand Costa's market reach into fast-growing Asian consumer markets.