Anzco Foods says annual pre-tax profit fell 90% on tough year for beef processing

New Zealand lamb cutlets in a Shanghai China supermarket. Photo by Bernard Hickey

Meat processor and exporter Anzco Foods reported a 90 percent plunge in full-year pre-tax profit in what it said was a tough year for beef processing.

Anzco, a unit of Japanese-listed Itoham Yonekyu Holdings, said its pre-tax profit was $1.8 million in the 2017 calendar year versus $17 million in 2016. Revenue of $1.46 billion was consistent with the prior year when it was $1.45 billion, it said.

"This result reflects a tough year in beef processing which comprises around 60 percent of Anzco Foods business," said chief executive Peter Conley in a statement. He provided no further detail on the sharp fall in profit and was not immediately available for comment.

The company has "aggressively pursued its strategy to reposition itself" and create net value from food, nutrition and healthcare products, he said. These initiatives have contributed positively to Anzco Foods performance with a 30 percent lift in sales in those categories, according to Conley.

Conley also said growth of the Wakanui brand supported Anzco Foods differentiated beef strategy in New Zealand, Asia and other markets, including the first shipments to China with the opening of that market for chilled New Zealand beef and lamb.

The company said it reinvested $27.5 million in capital projects during the year. In November, a new Wakanui steakhouse restaurant opened in Singapore, complementing the two restaurants located in Japan. This expansion supports the promotion and growth of New Zealand food products, it said.

Wakanui beef is raised totally free from antibiotics and hormone growth promoters. The Angus and Hereford cattle graze for 18 months and are then hand selected to be grain finished. The premium beef is then aged for 21 days.

Parent company Itoham Yonekyu Holdings reported a net profit of $205 million for the year ended March 31, 2018, on turnover of $10.9 billion. according to the release.