Listed dairy genetics business Livestock Improvement Corporation has posted a 31 per cent lift in net profit after tax for the 2021 financial year.
Total revenue rose 3.4 per cent to $249 million and the farmer-owned cooperative ended the year with no debt.
The dividend to shareholders is slightly down at $17.8m compared to $18.1m in FY2020. Equating to 12.5c a share compared to 12.7c in 2020, it will be paid on August 20.
The company attributed the lower dividend to a drop in underlying earnings, which were down 1.9 per cent at $22.3m, after a one-off tax benefit the prior year. The dividend represents 80 per cent of underlying earnings, consistent with previous years.
Chair Murray King said the result was in line with market guidance and indicative of good growth across core business areas, particularly in the premium genetics range.
This range offered farmers young, genomically-selected bulls to fast track genetic gain and deliver on-farm value through increased productivity and efficiency, including improved environmental efficiency.
The premium genetics range accounted for almost half the co-op's total artificial breeding inseminations - more than double that of three years ago.
It included sexed semen where purchases showed tripled growth on the previous year.
"This growth will have a significant impact on-farm this spring and deliver a huge amount of value to our farmers, with more high-quality heifer replacements and fewer bobby calves," King said.
"We're expecting this to be even greater next year with sexed semen orders likely to almost double again."
King said LIC existed to deliver superior genetics and technology innovation to help shareholders sustainably farm a profitable animal.
"We've invested heavily into genomics for our farmers because the DNA of our dairy herd can do a lot of the heavy lifting to help meet our sectors' climate goals.
"World-leading pastoral dairy genetics and genomics are a much more precise tool for farmers than the blunt instrument of reduced cow numbers."
The company invested $17.1m in R&D, up 15.4 per cent on the previous year. It also spent $3m improving its Minda Live herd management system, with 66 new features added based on farmer demand.
During the year LIC sold its automation business to a US company for NZ$38.1m. The board is considering options for the use of the resulting net assets of $23.8m now on the books.
King said underlying earnings in the 2021-2022 financial year were expected to be in the range of $19m-$25m, assuming no significant climate event or milk price change, and no major impacts from Mycoplasma bovis disease or the pandemic.
Recruitment of a chief executive to succeed Wayne McNee was a priority. McNee steps down at the end of November.
The 2021 annual report shows the remuneration of LIC's top earner, presumably, McNee, rose to a range of $1.01m-$1.019m from $1m-$1.009m in 2020.
The number of employees on $100,000 and over rose by eight to 210.
Total directors fees during the year were $620,000, down on last year's $649,000.