[18 October/New Zealand Herald]

Comvita Chief executive Scott Coulter has confirmed a rise in the company’s 2018 earnings outlook after a solid recovery of the so-called grey channel into China and significant North American sales. The Te Puke-based company’s first-quarter sales rose 35 percent from a year earlier and were tracking ahead of budget. Comvita now expects a profit greater than $17.1 million, and to resume dividend payments in the current financial year. The grey channel is made up of small-scale exporters who buy the product and post it to China. Moves by the Chinese government to crack down on grey sales had crimped profits for companies such as Comvita.