Zespri allocates $98m of Gold3 licence revenue

Zespri shares will resume trading on Friday.

Shares in kiwifruit marketer Zespri will resume trading on Friday after it announced the allocation of another 400 hectares of Gold3 licence worth $98 million.

Zespri says it will update shareholders on the full implications of the licence release on the corporate when the forecast profit range for the 2017/2018 financial year is advised following the April board meeting.

There was a total of 938 bids for the latest release of Gold3 licence and 235 successful bids.

The average size of the successful bids is 1.7ha and the median price $235,000.

The variety is expected to fetch between $8.75 to $9.75 per tray this season as at March compared to $5.15 to $6.15 for Zespri Green.

Confirmation of the allocation follows Zespri announcing yesterday the police are investigating the alleged illegal transfer of Gold3 and Gold9 varieties from New Zealand to China.

It’s the first potential breach of Zespri’s plant variety rights offshore. Contacts in China alerted the marketer to less than 100 hectares of the fruit being planted in China.

An investigation by Zespri uncovered a kiwifruit licence had been sold to a third party, breaching the terms limiting transfers within a country.

Grower and external relations general manager Dave Courtney says Zespri remains committed to licensing more of the Gold2 variety offshore, having already signalled plans to release another 1800 ha of European gold licence in the next few years.

Some 10% of its volumes are grown in Italy, Japan and Korea and it says the amount grown offshore will need to rise to about 20-25% in the next few years in order to ensure customers have a 12-month supply.

Zespri has growing trials underway in China over the next few years but Mr Courtney says it hasn't yet committed to growing a particular PVR right there yet.