PGG Wrightson lifts 1H profit by 55%, pays 2.2 cent dividend

Feb. 27 (BusinessDesk) – PGG Wrightson, the rural services company controlled by Singapore-based Agria, listed first-half profit by 55 percent on earning s growth from retail and Ag services, allowing it to declare a 2.2 cents a share interim dividend.

Profit rose to $4.8 million in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $3.1 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement. Revenue from continuing operations fell to $589 million from $694 million.

Wrightson sold its finance unit to Heartland New Zealand in August 2011 and booked a loss of $3.37 million in the first half of the 2012 that wasn’t repeated in the latest period. Revenue from discontinued operations fell to $1.5 million in the latest half from $13.6 million a year earlier.

The latest results also include $25 million in repayment of loans over the Crafar Farms following the sale of the properties to China’s Shanghai Pengxin Group.

Earnings from Wrightson’s retail division, which includes Rural Supplies, Fruitfed retail and AgNZ (consulting) rose to $13.4 million from $12.9 million, the company said. Livestock earnings fell to $350,000 from $668,000.

Earnings from other AgriServices, which includes insurance, real estate, wool, irrigation and pumping, AgNZ (training) and South American activities, rose to $1.6 million from $743,000. AgriServices rose to $15.3 million from about $12 million and AgriTech, which includes seeds and gain and animal feeds, fell to $23,000 from $8.9 million.

“The tougher conditions being faced by farmers clearly impact on some areas of our business, but overall our businesses have performed strongly and most have lifted earnings year-on-year,” managing director George Gould said.

Wrightson shares last traded at 41 cents and have declined 2.3 percent this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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