Zespri today updated its forecast corporate profit range after tax for 2016/17 to $70-$75 million from its April forecast of $25-30 million because of the need to take into account licence revenues from the new Gold3 licence this year.

Chairman Peter McBride said in a letter to growers that the new corporate forecast was a significant increase, because it now took into account licence revenue of $50.2 million after tax from the release of 400 hectares of Gold3 licence in 2016.

For the 2015 year, Zespri declared a net after profit tax of $35.million on total sales of $1.9 billion, with a fruit and service payment to growers of $1.1 billion.

The closed tender bid process this year for the new Gold3 licence attracted very strong participation, with more than 1,000 growers bidding for licence, said Mr McBride.

"The level of participation and the high median price of successful bids reflect, I believe, the strong level of confidence in the product."

However, he noted the revenue would be realised over a number of years.

The take-up of deferral terms by a substantial number of bidders meant that the licence release would not generate net cashflow to Zespri until the 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 financial years.

"At that time the Zespri board will make decisions regarding use of funds and distribution to shareholders," he said.