Harvey Fresh banks healthy profits

Rachel DonkinThe West Australian
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WA dairy and fruit juice processor Harvey Fresh has emerged from 2009-10 with healthy profits, despite a turbulent year for WA primary producers.

Latest accounts filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission show the privately owned company booked a $2.6 million net profit for the year to June 30, down slightly from $2.67 million the prior year. The slight profit dip came despite an increase in revenue to $102.5 million, from $100.3 million in 2008-09.

The 2008-09 revenue result represented a 21 per cent jump on the previous year, but rising costs of production weighed on profit. Harvey Fresh managed to keep a lid on processing and raw material costs during the year.

The company took advantage of its balance sheet strength to pay $3.7 million in dividends to its owners during the year — equating to $1.53 a share — after deciding against a payout the year before.

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Harvey Fresh is owned by the related Sorgiovanni, Bonavita and Scolara families.

The Scolara family were part of a buyout of the business from receivership in 1990 after the business was caught up in the high-profile collapse of Geneva Finance and First Western Group. A Sorgiovanni family company established the Harvey Fresh dairy business in the late 1980s. The consolidated juice and dairy processor expanded into wine in under the Harvey River Bridge Estate brand in 1999 and now also produces under the Billy Goat Hill and Stone Gully labels.

Dairy industry consultants say the outlook for WA is positive this year, after milk producers reported a tough 2010 characterised by drought and rising production costs from higher grain, hay and water prices and reduced milk prices.

The industry is also suffering from an oversupply in the wake of the collapse of the State’s biggest processor, Challenge Australian Dairy.

Harvey Fresh director Kevin Sorgiovanni was unavailable for comment.

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