PGG Wrightson lifted full-year guidance for a third time on solid demand for the firm's retail, livestock and real estate services.

The rural services firm expects operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) will be about $66 million in the June financial year, up from an earlier forecast for ebitda of $62m, and the initial $53m forecast in October. Wrightson reported operating ebitda of $56m in the June 2021 year.  

Chair Rodger Finlay said the upgrade was due to the “strong financial performance” across a range of its businesses in the March quarter.

Finlay said North Island and Canterbury livestock clients had purchased more stock due to “good grass cover” which had boosted growth in the company’s Go-Stock grazing programmes.

“The wet weather and humid conditions through late summer and autumn has supported robust sales in crop inputs and animal health categories,” Finlay said.

“Our real estate performance has also remained positive with some large kiwifruit orchards sold during March.”

Wrightson reported a 20% increase in first-half earnings in February of $47.4m, with net profit up 32% at $22.5m. The board declared an interim dividend of 14 cents a share, up from 12 cents a year earlier.

“Although there remains a degree of uncertainty regarding future covid-19 variants and there continues to be supply chain disruption, the move to the range setting and the opening of our border has been welcomed positively,” Finlay said.