[28 February/ New Zealand Herald]

New Zealand’s largest apple exporter Scales Corp has seen a 6 percent profit increase due to business expansion. Profit figures increased to $38.2 million in 2016 from $35.9 million in the prior year. Last year Scales acquired Hawkes Bay apple business Longview, and secured China Resources Ng Fung as a 15 percent shareholder. Securing China Resources Ng Fung improved Scales Corp’s network and access to the Chinese market. The company picked over half a billion apples throughout the year, increasing export volumes and the average apple price was aided by a positive international demand. Such growth enabled an elevated position on the stock exchange and increased investor attention, seeing shares boost 56 percent over the past year. While net debt increased to $34.6 million from previous year’s $16.2 million, Managing Director Andy Borland said the low level of gearing places Sales Corp in a strong financial position to finance future growth opportunities.