Asian Citrus full-year net profit rises 90pc on year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 17 September, 2011, 12:00am

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Asian Citrus Holdings, the largest orange plantation operator on the mainland, saw its net profit increase 90 per cent to 1.11 billion yuan (HK$1.35 billion) in the year ended June on larger harvests and higher orange prices.

The producer has earmarked up to 800 million yuan for acquisitions of orange and other citrus plantations in southwest China.

Shares in the company rose 8.2 per cent to HK$6.2 yesterday on the jump in net profit. The board of director recommended a final dividend of 10 fens per share plus a special dividend of 3 fens.

Orange production increased 16 per cent year-on-year to over 210,000 tonnes while prices of winter oranges and summer oranges rose 10 per cent from a year earlier. The bigger harvests mainly came from its plantation in Jiangxi, Xinfeng, a relatively young orchid with trees only six years old on average. A more mature plantation in Guangxi saw its harvest drop 2.5 per cent due to replanting programme.

In the coming year, the management said they expected orange prices to continue to rise on the back of inflation on mainland. But orange prices will not gain as much as major food prices such as meat or vegetable, the company said.

The company said it is in the process of identifying acquisitions of sizeable orange plantation in Sichuan and Yunnan since the company has no foothold in the southwest region. Besides oranges, the producer is also interested in lemon, grapefruit and tangerine plantations.

Newly acquired juice processor unit, Beihai BPG, contributed 122.3 million yuan of profit to the company in the fiscal year and brought a 4 fen earnings enhancement per share. Beihai mainly produces concentrated pineapple juice on the mainland, the major additive to fruit juice. A new juice production line will enter trials next year which will increase total production by two-thirds. It is also mulling acquiring pineapple plantations in south China.