Nufarm expects more growth as profit lifts

Agricultural chemicals supplier Nufarm expects further growth in the current financial year after boosting its annual profit in fiscal 2017 despite a challenging year for the industry.

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Nufarm’s full-year profit for the 12 months to July 31 soared to $114.5 million, compared to last year’s $27.5 million profit which was heavily impacted by restructuring costs.

Underlying net profit, which excludes one-off items, rose 25 per cent to $135.8 million.

Chief executive Greg Hunt says Nufarm is on track to achieve at least $116 million in net benefits from efficiency programs in fiscal 2018.

“Nufarm expects to achieve further growth in the current financial year and is continuing to assess opportunities that might arise from broader industry consolidation moves,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.

In fiscal 2017, Nufarm lifted sales in Australia, North America and Asia, which helped offset Europe’s slight decline.

Sales in South America were ahead of the prior year but liberalisation of the market in Argentina affected the profitability of that business.

Mr Hunt said it was a challenging year for the industry, with stiff competition driven by lower crop prices and lower demand for crop protection chemistry.

But Nufarm was still able to grow revenue and maintain margins.

Shares in Nufarm were 13 cents, or 1.45 per cent, lower at $8.85 at 1024 AEST.

NUFARM EXPECTS FURTHER GROWTH

* Annual net profit of $114.5m, up from $27.5m

* Revenue up 11.5pct to $3.1b

* Final dividend up one cent to eight cents , unfranked