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Wrightson rolls up its sleeves

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Friday 27th October 2000

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Listed rural services company Wrightson says there is still plenty of room to improve its financial performance despite a much better profit result and a positive start to the new financial year.

CEO Allan Freeth says the company has made significant progress in the last year by increasing revenue and achieving sustainable cost reductions, with the year's profit of $7.5 million reflecting a 6% increase in revenue and a 6% reduction in underlying costs.

"However, much work remains to be done if we are to generate a satisfactory return on the capital invested in our company."

One of the areas for improvement is the company's venture into e-commerce.

"The launch during the year of Wrightson Online, New Zealand's first online agricultural information and retail system, was a major achievement for us in the area of e-commerce," says Mr Freeth.

"As with any new technology development, a period of review is required and, to be frank, we are not happy with its current state and are committed to upgrading the web site to ensure that it meets both the company's retailing objectives, as well as our clients' needs."

On the plus side Mr Freeth told the company's AGM that the introduction of the Livestock Auction Management System, known as LAMS, to its livestock business, is paying significant dividends.

"This system is now operating successfully at 21 key selling centres, providing better service to clients and new efficiencies in sales processing."

"Other new technology in our sale yards now allows us to sell cattle on the basis of liveweight, rather than the traditional per head basis. We are experiencing an increase in market share in those sale yards where we have introduced liveweight selling and this, together with LAMS, is a giving us that ever important edge over our competitors."

Mr Freeth says over the next year he plans to concentrate on four areas of the business - revenue growth, sales management, fixing the Australian operations, and wool industry reform.

He says the first quarter results for the company are pleasing and confirm that the business strategies Wrightson is pursuing are the right ones.

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