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Seeka New Zealand results year ended 2022:

"Lower kiwifruit yields and poor fruit quality all impacting returns”

New Zealand produce company Seeka has announced a net profit after tax of $6.5 million, following a difficult year due to Covid-19 and lower yields across the industry.

Michael Franks, Seeka’s Chief Executive explained, "Seeka and its supplying growers experienced a very difficult year last year, with extreme labour shortages, shipping disruptions, lower kiwifruit yields and poor fruit quality all impacting returns.”

The 2022 season saw an industry-wide reduction in Kiwifruit yields, combined with storage performance issues, both onshore and offshore, as a direct result of the pandemic. Franks said, "Despite the challenging season, Seeka achieved an increase in revenues to $348 million reflecting newly acquired business. However, packing operations peaked during the COVID wave resulting in significant labour shortages, higher labour costs and production pressure. This combined with lower yields from the orchards impacted margins contributing to a drop in EBITDA to $46 million and a net profit after tax of $6.5 million.”

Since the 2022 harvest, Seeka has reviewed its supply chain operations from orchard to loadout and is focussed on achieving excellence in fruit handling in 2023. Seeka is anticipating an improved labour supply with a large increase in RSE workers from the Pacific and Malaysia, and a normalisation of travel. Franks explained, "The completion of a highly automated packline in the Bay of Plenty, and automation projects in both Gisborne and Oakside, will lift Seeka’s packing capacity, improve fruit handling and significantly reduce the demand for packhouse labour.”

Earlier this week Seeka announced its Gisborne packhouse was back up and running following Cyclone Gabrielle. Seeka's core Bay of Plenty kiwifruit growing region was spared the worst of the weather and was not materially impacted. However, operations in the Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Coromandel and Kerikeri regions had varying degrees of impact, with Hawke’s Bay being impacted the most. Approximately 5% of Seeka's kiwifruit supply is grown in the Hawke’s Bay region.

Franks stated, “We have been inspecting our post-harvest sites and supplying orchards, to assess the potential impact on harvest 2023. While we did not see any significant damage to our post-harvest facilities, we anticipate that the full impact on the crops will remain unknown until the fruit is harvested. We will continue to assess the situation and will update the market if Seeka identifies a material loss.”

As Seeka focuses on delivering service, they continue to implement a range of decarbonisation initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of their local communities. Seeka has set a target to become net zero carbon by 2050 and is installing solar panels on their post-harvest facilities. The organisation has also begun to roll out regenerative horticulture practices including operating its own commercial worm farm that recovers a nutrient-rich soil conditioner from organic packhouse waste.

For further information, please contact:
Rhian Ecclestone
Tel: +64 027 253 4394

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