Scion posts loss after tax change

State science company Scion -- the former Forest Research Institute -- has posted a before-tax profit of $3.24 million for the year to June 30 ($3.39m in 2009) on operating revenue of $43.49m ($43.9m).

But it declared a net loss of $978,000 after the Government scored an own-goal with its tax change on building depreciation, which required a one-off tax adjustment of $3.17 million, boosting tax costs to $4.21m ($1.11m).

In 2009, the Rotorua-based company's after-tax profit was $2.28m. The Government's 2010 budget removed tax depreciation deductions for buildings with an expected life of 50 years.

Scion chairman Tony Nowell said the before-tax result was a "notable achievement" in the recession, and Scion acting chief executive Chelydra Percy noted that the company had only budgeted for a before-tax profit of $2.48m.

"So a result of $3.24m is great news," said Ms Percy, the former group manager of corporate services.

Scion's total equity dropped nearly $2m to $24.12m during the year. Figures for paid-up capital ($17.516m) and reserves ($48,000) remained the same as last year, but retained earnings dropped from $8.64m in 2009 to $6.55m this year.

Part of this was due to the Government still taking a shareholder's dividend of $1.1m (equivalent to 6.33c/share) in 2010, compared with $1.5m (8.56c/share) in 2009.

The company closed three subsidiaries, Liro Ltd, Scion Australasia Ltd and Forest Research (Australasia) Pty Ltd, and distributed their retained profits to New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd.

Scion carries out research and technology development in forestry, wood products, biomaterials and bioenergy with four strategic goals: to increase the value and profitability of New Zealand forests, optimise the value of marginal land, accelerate development of bioproducts from renewable resources and maximise the quality and impact of science. It employs 340 people.