Kangaroo Island plantation remains upbeat despite big loss

Kangaroo Island plantation remains upbeat despite big loss

Agribusiness
Last year macadamia sales were the big plus for the Buderim Group, up 59 per cent to $41 million. Photo by Shutterstock.

Last year macadamia sales were the big plus for the Buderim Group, up 59 per cent to $41 million. Photo by Shutterstock.

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Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers' preliminary assessment of bushfire damage shows only about 5 per cent of its trees are unscathed.

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The bad news for the Punter's shares in Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers (ASX code KPT) is that the preliminary assessment of the bushfire damage shows that only about 5 per cent of its trees are unscathed.

A further 5pc was damaged but will probably survive. Including independent growers, some 15,000 hectares will have to be felled and replanted.

The good news is that KPT is not giving up, but "looks forward to playing a significant and transformative role in the economic recovery of Kangaroo Island". It is pushing the government to give final permission for its deep-water port, arguing that it would boost the island's shattered economy.

It is still considering whether it can sell the damaged trees as chips, pellets or logs, but it needs the new port to export them. The Punter expects KPT to survive, but has made the painful decision to mark the value of his shares down to zero.

The sharp fall in the stock market on January 29 may be a warning of more shocks to come. However, the Punter is putting more money into the market, buying shares in a company that recently doubled its debt, has less than $2 million in the bank, and may have to repay nearly $15m of convertible loan stock in September.

The Buderim Group (BUG), however, does show real signs of a turnaround. In the last financial year, it turned losses of $13.8m before tax into a net profit of $91,000, thanks in part to a 27pc increase in sales.

Net debt increased from $11.6m to $21.4m, which made the Punter blink twice, but the company argues that the money is largely to fund increased inventories, making it possible to bid for larger contracts for its macadamias in the US.

There are very few buyers of BUG shares and almost no sellers, but the Punter has picked up 3238 shares at 26c each. Additional shares were only on offer at 34c or above.

  • The Punter has no financial qualifications and no links to the financial services industry. He owns shares in a number of companies featured in this column.
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