Farming co-op announces $2.1m loss

Ashburton rural trader Ruralco missed out on its birthday wishes after emerging from a challenging year with a $2.1 million loss.

The farmer co-operative revealed its position for the financial year ending June at its 60th annual meeting, a turnaround from a $426,000 profit last year. Ruralco’s turnover of $293.3m was up on last year’s $279.1m with its gross profit of $12m flatlining.

Group equity of $15.2m was back on last year’s $17.3m.

Board chairman Sir David Carter said the business was closely intertwined with its farmers’ businesses.

"We have been heartened by your support despite the difficult times we have all faced with rising costs and the economic downturn putting pressure on our budgets and reducing overall margins."

He said Ruralco had been impacted, like many organisations servicing the rural community, by rising interest rates, high inflation and input costs and bad debt, while also remaining committed to ongoing projects necessary for the long-term viability of the business.

"Our challenge has been to respond and adjust to these changes and commitments, resulting in our business moving from a growth strategy to a more consolidated approach which has seen Ruralco consider all costs wherever necessary."

Sir David said its business model remained robust and competitive, despite the result.

Ruralco’s Instore Days continued to draw large crowds, matching pre-Covid 19 levels.

He said the co-op’s commitment to the rural community remained strong as it celebrated its 60th anniversary.

At the annual meeting Sir David and new directors Nectar Group managing director David Barron and Mid Canterbury dairy farmer Kate Beaumont-Smith were elected unopposed to the board.

Sir David retired by rotation and was re-elected. Earlier in the year, a vacancy was created by the resignation of a sitting director and before the election, the board added another shareholder elected position to increase its skillset.


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