Wednesday, 13 March 2024 09:55

Weather wreaks havoc with bottom lines

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
T&G Global saw its operating profit plunge from $20 million in 2022 to a $46m loss last year. T&G Global saw its operating profit plunge from $20 million in 2022 to a $46m loss last year.

Weather events like Cyclone Gabrielle that hit over one year ago have landed two of the country's biggest fruit and vegetable traders with massive trading losses.

T&g Global, which grows apples, tomatoes, citrus and blueberries, and partners with over 800 independent growers to export to 60 countries, saw its operating profit plunge from $20 million in 2022 to a whopping $46m loss last year. The listed company's net loss before tax ballooned to $64.2m, compared to a $3.3m loss the previous year.

Another listed company, Seeka Limited, posted a half-year net loss of $14.5m, down from a $6.5m profit the previous year.

Both companies blame weather events for their financial woes Cyclone Gabrielle, which hit Northland and Hawke's Bay in February last year, left some orchards in ruins.

T&G Global chair Benedikt Mangold says their loss reflected both the cyclone's physical and fiscal impact and a challenging year in terms of growing and economic conditions.

"The February cyclone completely disrupted our apples operations in Hawke's Bay for five days, destroyed orchards on some 13% of our planted hectares and interrupted our supply chains for export and domestic crops. The cyclone, along with five-year highs in rainfall and lows in sunshine across the year, made conditions more than challenging."

Across at Seeka, a difficult 2023 harvest was extended beyond cyclone-affected areas and even in Australia. But the company is also bouncing back with better marketing and suspending dividends and reducing overheads. Seeka is one of the country's largest kiwifruit growers and also exports apples and pears.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks says the 2023 harvest was difficult right across the horticultural sector, as a warm wet winter, cyclones and hail significantly impacted orchards in New Zealand and Australia.

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