Ariston sales up 250 percent

Horticultural group, Ariston had mixed fortunes during the year ending September. Flower exports achieved a new high with the company exporting 26 million stems, but tea production dropped by 9 percent.

World flower prices were better than expected. The strong Euro improved "on farm" returns. Tea prices were, however disappointing although early season contracts currently show an improvement.

Tea yields were adversely affected by an industrial strike and poor rainfall distribution.

Coffee production exceeded 400 tonnes. While international prices were depressed, quality coffee attracted a premium.

Local and export demand for pome and stone fruit was strong and the prices were firm.

Ariston's alliance with a regional macadamia operation had resulted in improved hard currency prices and processing efficiencies.

Katope had also produced an exceptional performance.

The group achieved a turnover of $5.5 billion, a 250 percent increase over the previous year. Net profit shot up from $349 million to $1.2 billion.

It invested $898 million in expanding its production base. Tea factories were upgraded.

The group also disposed of its interest in Tetrad.

It has entered into a partnership with Trust Banking Corporation to support and develop a new farmer outgrower scheme in both flowers and tea. The scheme will take on more than 1 500 new farmers.

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