Allied Farmers narrows first-half loss as livestock unit turns profitable

Allied Farmers 12-month price history (NZX.com)

Allied Farmers [NZX: ALF], which is slowly rebuilding from a disastrous takeover of the Hanover and United Finance loan books, narrowed its first-half loss as its livestock unit returned to profit, and is mulling ways to pay debt owing to Crown Asset Management.

The Hawera-based company made a loss of $468,000 in the six months ended Dec 31 from a loss of $2.47 million a year earlier, it said in a statement. Its livestock unit, which generated almost all of its revenue, made a profit of $315,000 from a loss of $798,000 a year earlier, on largely flat sales of $8.71 million.

"Traditionally the livestock division makes most of its earnings in the second six months and again based on the level of forward herd sale contracts this year we would expect the second half profits for rural to exceed last year," chairman Garry Bluett said. "The focus for the livestock division will be to continue to grow NZ Farmers Livestock's business activities."

In December the company reached a conditional deal with Spiers Group to settle a $2 million liability for shares and a deferred payment worth $1.2 million, and will write back $900,000 to profit in the second half result.

Allied Farmers avoided liquidation last year, raising $600,000 in a bond issue, almost half of which was bought by interests associated with chairman Bluett. Asset sales in the past year have helped reduce its debt with Crown Asset Management to $2.65 million as at Dec. 31, and the company is exploring its options on completely repaying the debt. The government entity took over the debt because of a related party loan between Allied Farmers and its failed finance unit, Allied Nationwide Finance.

"For the next six months ALF will continue to explore options with CAML to repay the secured debt whether this is by way of further asset sales, replacement debt or raising further capital," Bluett said.

Allied Farmers is trying to rebuild after the disastrous acquisition of financial assets from Hanover and United Finance for $394 million in 2009. Its asset management unit, which houses the ex-Hanover and United Finance loans, held assets worth $183,000 and liabilities of $1.09 million as at Dec 31.

The shares were unchanged at 4.2 cents today, valuing the company at $4.43 million.

(BusinessDesk)

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