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AsureQuality profit beats guidance on higher testing volumes

AsureQuality, the state-owned food testing company formed by the 2007 merger of Asure New Zealand and AgriQuality, beat forecast profit by 64 percent on higher testing volumes across its laboratories.

Profit rose to $12.5 million in the 12 months ended June 30, from $10.1 million a year earlier, beating the $7.6 million forecast in its statement of corporate intent, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 8 percent to $173.1 million, ahead of the forecast $156.9 million, which it said was due to higher testing volumes across its labs.

2014 was a year in which Fonterra Cooperative Group upped its focus on food safety and quality, after a false food alarm in August last year sparked a recall, and several investigations into the dairy exporter's quality assurance processes. Earlier this year, Fonterra was fined $300,000 over failures related to the food scare, including the dairy company's failure to inform AsureQuality, as a recognised agency, about product concerns early enough.

The state-owned enterprise expects profit of $10 million in the 2015 financial year on $174.2 million in sales, according to its statement of corporate intent for 2015 to 2017. That's up from an earlier forecast profit of $5.7 million, on $158.5 million of sales.

AsureQuality paid $4.5 million in interim and special dividends to the government, and would declare a final dividend on Sept. 16. In 2013 the company paid $8.5 million in dividend payments, including a $4 million final dividend in September.

In March the company appointed former Hansells Food Group boss John McKay as its new chief executive.

(BusinessDesk)

Comments and questions
1

The high profit made by AsureQuality comes at the expense of many exporters. The high charges that food exporters are having to pay for testing products to meet market access requirements makes it more difficult to compete with countries that don't charge their exporters. Some of this profit should be returned to exporters by way of more reasonable charges for testing.