Australia's Costa Group annual profit doubles

(Adds CEO comment, other performance metrics, outlook)

Aug 24 (Reuters) - Costa Group Holdings Ltd, Australia's biggest horticultural firm, reported a doubling in full-year attributable profit, helped by strong performance in its produce and international segments and one-off items.

Full-year profit attributable rose 99.5 percent to A$115.2 million ($84.28 million) from A$57.7 million last year. The net profit included an A$48.3 million gain from consolidation of a 49 percent interest in a Moroccan joint venture, African Blue.

Strong performance from its citrus, mushrooms and tomato categories helped outweigh a lower than expected contribution from African Blue because of prolonged cold weather, causing a delay in maturity of the crop, Chief Executive Harry Debney said.

Australia's top grower and marketer of fruit and vegetables said net profit excluding one-offs rose to A$76.7 million from A$60.7 million, while full-year revenue climbed 10 percent to A$1.00 billion from A$909.1 million in fiscal 2017.

For the current year, the company said it expected to generate low double-digit net profit growth after tax in the year ahead to June 30, 2019.

The firm announced a final dividend of 7.0 Australian cents per share, the same as a year ago.

Costa also said its board approved the construction of 10 hectares (25 acres) of additional produce capability at its Guyra facility in New South Wales for A$67 million. That would expand its nursery capacity and enhance its capability for produce packing, and is expected to start production in May 2020, the company said.

($1 = 1.3669 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Aaron Saldanha and Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Peter Cooney)

2018-08-24 01:15:47

© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Thomson Reuters or its third party content providers. Any copying, republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. "Reuters" and the Reuters Logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters and its affiliated companies.