ArborGen Holdings (formerly Rubicon) is an NZX-listed investment company. Its subsidiary ArborGen is the world’s largest integrated developer, commercial manufacturer and supplier of advanced forestry seedlings with operations in the US, Brazil and Australasia.
FY20 results included a 16% y-o-y increase in group revenue; all three regions served grew sales, most notably in Australasia (+c 50%). Gross margin also nudged up and the company reported EBITDA progress on both US GAAP and NZ IFRS bases. Expanded nursery platforms in the US and Brazil and participation in NZ’s One Billion Trees programme were the regional highlights. ArborGen also acquired its previously leased US head office and property during the year. ArborGen ended FY20 with c US$32m net debt (IAS 17 basis) with some investment in working capital in addition to the US fixed asset acquisition being the key drivers of the y-o-y increase. At this stage, no major impact from COVID-19 has been flagged and the company currently expects its defined US GAAP EBITDA measure to show progress in FY21 over FY20. Our estimates are under review.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the economic growth outlook in each of its core countries, the US, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia, was either good or improving, according to OECD data. At this point, the primary end-markets served by its plantation forestry customer base (ie construction and the pulp and paper industries) were in a positive cyclical phase.