Anzco announces turnaround in effort to scotch rumours

Graeme Harrison.
Graeme Harrison.
Anzco Foods has announced a turnaround in fortunes ahead of its usual reporting time, saying it has been concerned about rumours in the meat industry around the financial state of individual companies.

The privately-owned company has reported net profit after tax of $12.2 million for the year to September, based on revenue of $1.3 billion, compared to a loss last year of $19.2 million on revenue of $1.2 billion.

It had taken the ''unusual step'' of announcing its financial results well in advance of the Companies Office reporting requirement of March 31 next year.

It had been concerned about the rumours and comments to the effect that Anzco had been actively promoting industry change because of its weakened position.

''Nothing could be further from truth,'' chairman Sir Graeme Harrison said in a statement.

In 2011-12, the company experienced its first bottom-line loss from New Zealand operations in Anzco's history but generated a strong operating cash flow surplus and that position was further enhanced in the 2012-13 year.

Anzco recognised the ongoing decline in sheep and traditional cattle numbers and had favoured finding an orderly solution to facilitate the removal of excess slaughter capacity, Sir Graeme said.

Managing director Mark Clarkson said solid progress had been made during the past year in advancing the company's food and solutions (value add) business.

Since balance date, the company had also purchased Itoham's 50% shareholder in Five Star Beef, in Canterbury, New Zealand's only large-scale cattle feedlot operation.

Other meat companies to report recently include Alliance Group (after-tax profit of $5.6 million) and Silver Fern Farms (after-tax loss of $28.6 million), both for the September year.

Earlier this year, Southland-based Blue Sky Meats announced a $3.8 million after-tax loss for the March year.

• Yesterday, Alliance Group announced it was strengthening its presence in Iraq, as it looked for export growth in the country.

The Southland-based company has completed its first full year of exporting to hotels, restaurants and catering companies in Iraq after previously shipping product through Jordan.

Exports of Pure South branded lamb have increased by about 35% in the past year.

Most of the ovine product sold in Iraq was domestic fresh, mainly due to a lack of reliable electricity for refrigeration, but the company predicted consumers would increasingly turn to frozen lamb as investment in new infrastructure gathered pace.

It also believed there was potential for more growth in the market as consumers became more sophisticated.

Alliance Group was focusing on Iraq's major business cities including Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Erbil and Sulaymania, as well as the holy cities of Karbala, Najaf and Samara.

It was also targeting the country's semi-autonomous northern territory Kurdistan, which boasted better marketing structures and higher disposable incomes, marketing general manager Murray Brown said.

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