Open Country Dairy posts record annual profit in 2015

Profit increased 16% to $34.4 million in the year ended September 30, 2015.

Open Country Dairy, the dairy manufacturer controlled by Talley's Group, posted a record annual profit last year even as revenue fell.

Profit increased 16% to $34.4 million in the year ended September 30, 2015, according to the Auckland-based company's annual report. Revenue slid 24% to $688 million while the cost of sales sank 28% to $620.5 million, according to the accounts.

The company didn't pay a dividend and has previously said it was investing in infrastructure for future growth.

Open Country is about 75% owned by Talley's, the Motueka-based family company founded by Yugoslav immigrant Ivan Talijancich, which has interests across New Zealand's primary industries spanning seafood, vegetables, meat and dairy. Open Country is New Zealand's second-largest dairy processor behind Fonterra Cooperative Group, and has joined other milk companies in cutting its payout to farmers this season as global milk supply continues to outweigh demand.

Its payments for milk fell 36% last year to $480.2 million while receipts from customers declined by a lesser 19% to $707.4 million, according to the accounts.

The value of the company's inventories rose 28% to $159.3 million.

Open Country made $14 million of loan repayments last year, compared with the year-earlier period when it received a loan advance of $71 million.

Chairman Laurie Margrain wasn't immediately available for comment.

(BusinessDesk)