Leading Australian agribusiness company, Webster Limited (ASX: WBA) has reported a net profit after tax of $2.12 million for the six months ended 31 March 2019 compared to $3.77 million for the prior corresponding period.
During the half year period, the company’s revenue and other income in the Horticulture business was $19.7 million compared to $23.6 million in pcp. For H1 FY19, the company has not yet commenced harvesting of its cotton crops and the harvest of walnut orchards was approximately only 45% complete. The company is expecting that 2019 walnut harvest will total approximately 9,700 tonnes compared to 9,508 tonnes in 2018.
H1 FY19 Results (Source: Company Reports)
Currently, the company is focusing on improving its sales through domestic channels with around 60% of sales coming from local customers. The majority of domestic sales are walnut kernel, enabling Webster to leverage the scale and efficiency of its state-of-the-art cracking facility at Leeton, NSW.
After the acquisition of the Sandy Valley almond orchard last year, the company has now acquired an apiary business in NSW for $5.2 million. The bee colonies from this acquisition will be used to cross-pollinate trees at the company’s Sandy Valley orchard to produce almonds and for the production of honey for sales through domestic channels.
The expansion of the company’s Almond operations continues with an additional 259 hectares of planting expected to be completed by the end of FY19. The company is also expanding its Walnut plantings with 125 hectares of additional planting at Leeton and 181 hectares at Avondale West.
Currently, the company’s financial position is strong with $250 million in committed credit facilities maturing out to 2022 with $147.1 million in undrawn facilities as at 31 March 2019.
For FY19 full year, the company is expecting to record a near breakeven position due to drought conditions which are affecting all areas of production and lower than expected walnut production and pricing.
The Board declared an unfranked dividend of 9 cents per share for the preference shares on issue with payment date of 25 June 2019.
Now, let’s have a glance at the company’s stock performance and the return it has posted over the past few months. The stock is trading at a price of $1.600, up by 0.629% during the day’s trade with a market capitalisation of ~$575.97 Million as on 22 May 2019. The counter opened the day at $1.600 and reached the day’s high of $1.610 and touched a day’s low of $1.600 with a daily volume of ~ 43,532. In the last six months, the share price of the company decreased by 6.47% as on 21 May 2019. It had a 52-week high price of $2.060 and touched 52 weeks low of $1.420, with an average volume of ~141,603.
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