Seasonal fluctuations and high inventory levels have plagued manuka honey exporter Comvita for the last couple of years.
Together they have conspired to create a string of losses and, on the face of it, the June year was no different.
The former high flier's net loss narrowed to $9.7 million from a $27.7m loss a year earlier.
But Comvita's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) came to $4.2m for the year, compared to a first-half loss of $8.8m.
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Even though it was an annual loss, the company is taking the second half's ebitda of $13m as a big win.
Chief executive David Banfield believes the company has turned the corner.
Comvita's $50m capital raise in June has put it on better footing, with debt falling to $15.5m from $90m in December.
Banfield wants to bring debt down to zero.
He also wants the company's earnings to be less lumpy, for it to become a more reliable performer, and to re-start dividends by this time next year.
Banfield, who replaced Scott Coulter as chief executive in January, said the strong second half performance demonstrated Comvita's turnaround.
"There has been a lot of change over the last six months - whether that's organisation-wise or companies within our overall situation."
Comvita's big inventory of honey, which has long been a problem, has dropped by $20m over the year to $113m.
Looking out over the next five years, Banfield sees "optimal" inventory as being around $70m.
Unlike the last few seasons, the latest 700-tonne honey harvest was a bumper one - having a $2.2m beneficial impact on Comvita's ebitda.
But Banfield wants the impact of those seasonal ups and downs to level out.
"The work that we have done is to make sure that our model, going forward, removes the downside risks," he says.
"We have looked hard to make sure that when we are thinking about supply, that we remove things that can knock us off course," he said.
"That's our new model going forward, so that we are in a breakeven position even if it is a poor harvest but gives us upside benefit if it is a good harvest," he said.
Comvita has gone through various joint ventures and written them down - which accounts for the result's $9.3m in non-operating items.
"The carrying value of most of those is zero now, so it's up to focus on delivery in 2021."
The company has reduced its staff by 90 to 540, mostly in management.
He said the aim of that exercise was to put in place a structure that could react quickly to opportunities and risks.
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Comvita's retail footprint - big in airport duty-free stores and tourist destinations - has virtually disappeared.
As the company heads back to becoming a dividend payer, Banfield said its focus was now on generating cash and paying down debt.
The capital raising in June had put the company on a totally different footing.
"It does put us in a significantly stronger position when you talk about top line growth, margin growth, plus with net debt at $15.5m, down from $93m in December."
Looking ahead, he anticipates good demand outside Australia and New Zealand as consumers continue to seek high quality natural health products.
The unofficial "daigou" trade channels into China have been hit due to travel bans, but the company is rebuilding after that shock.
Historically, Comvita has not been particularly focused on national distribution in New Zealand and Australia, but that now is part of its plan.
Comvita's underlying ebitda came to $19.1m in the June year - a figure that Banfield wants to deliver again in the current year.
Brokers Forsyth Barr have forecast revenue to lift to $205.7m, ebitda to rise to $21.4m and for the company to report a net profit of $7.8m in 2021.
Forsyth Barr Guy Hooper said the company is part way through a material transformation, having concluded a comprehensive strategic review in January.
"The company now has in place a new management team, revised harvest model, a more focused sales strategy, and a recently bolstered balance sheet," he said in a research note.
Hopper said Comvita had put in place some ambitious growth targets.
"The size of the prize is large and we are encouraged by early signs of success, although note it remains early days with a wide range of possible valuation outcomes," he said.
Comvita shares last traded at $3.30, having gained 32.5 per cent over the last 12 months.