By Staff Reporter

AGRO-INDUSTRIAL concern Ariston recorded strong earnings for the financial year 2018 on the back of strong performance of macadamia and tea on the international market.

Ariston runs three estates namely Claremont, Southdown and kent.

Southdown Estates continued to be the group’s dominant contributor to both revenue and profitability. Southdown Estates comprising of Southdown, Clearwater, Roscommon and Blended Tea factory achieved revenue of US$11.3m which is 80 percent of the group’s total revenue.

Profit was 262% up to US$2.8m in FY18 from a loss of US$1.7m in the prior year.

Below is a summary of Ariston’s performance.

MACADAMIA- FY18 PERFORMANCE SOUTHDOWN ESTATES

Production volumes improved marginally on prior year to 1,351 tonnes (FY17: 1,324 tonnes)
Quality improved significantly resulting in the average selling price improving by 18% on prior year
Improvement in quality arose from the effects of the macadamia drying facility as well as improved farming techniques

TEA-FY18 PERFORMANCE: SOUTHDOWN ESTATES

o Production volumes improved by 35% from 2,434 tonnes in prior year to 3,285 tonnes
o Export tea sales improved 55% to 2,156 tonnes
o Local tea sales improved by 8% to 1,129 tonnes
o International tea pricing firmed resulting in the Group achieving a 5% increase in average export selling price
o Local tea prices went up 14% in the year under review

FRUIT-FY18 PERFORMANCE: CLAREMONT ESTATE
o Stone fruit production volume at 883 tonnes was down 6% on prior year however prices were up 60% on prior year
o Pome fruit production at 1,093 tonnes was down 3% on prior year and pricing increased by 55%
o Pricing remained lower than that of imported fruit

POULTRY-FY18 PERFORMANCE: KENT ESTATE

o Production at 1.2 million birds was up 72% on prior year
SUMMER CROPS
o Successfully grew seed maize, commercial maize and sugar beans under irrigation
o Dry-land cropping was very successful

FY19 Trading Update and Outlook

FY19 – lower rainfall resulting in a mixed performance.
o Stone fruit season completed – volumes exceeded prior year (37% up).
o Stone fruit quality was excellent – some hail damage.
o Apple season commenced well – hail also affected some of the orchards.
o Pricing whilst firm, has been below rate of increase in import parity.
o Tea – hotter than normal weather leading to depressed yields (10% down).
o Depreciation of the local dollar has led to a more volatile work force.
Management has implemented various strategies to counteract the effect
of this.
o Macadamia season still early – volumes well ahead of prior year.
o Macadamia quality expected to improve further with expansion of drying
capacity.



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