Fertiliser company Ballance Agri-Nutrients will pay a record rebate to it shareholders.

Operating profit for the year ended May 31 was $85.9 million, compared to $20.7 million the previous year. A record total average payment to shareholders of $50.29 a tonne included a rebate of $46 a tonne on fertiliser purchased and an imputed dividend of 10 cents a share, resulting in a total distribution of $49 million, the company said.

Chairman David Graham said the distribution followed a strong second-half performance, including record sales in March.

"After a late spring and a slow start to summer we saw farming confidence improve, helped along initially by good returns in the dairy sector," Graham said. "We then saw demand increase sharply through autumn with the red meat sector also enjoying much better prices.


"This optimism ... meant that farmers were prepared to spend on fertiliser to make the most of good growing and market conditions."

Ballance chief executive Larry Bilodeau said the co-operative had started the new financial year in good financial and operational shape.

"The work we have put into upgrading our distribution centres means our customers get their fertiliser faster and more conveniently," Bilodeau said. "We've enhanced our service with online ordering, we've invested well in expanding the business and we're confident with our growth plans."