By Martin Vedris

AUCKLAND, NZ: At a shareholder meeting in Auckland today, Fisher & Paykel announced that their record appliances sales of over $1.29 billion were the driving force behind the company’s $1.4 billion in revenues, which was up 16.8 percent over last year.

However, the group’s profit after tax was down four percent to $61.2 million compared to $63.9 million for the previous year.

According to a statement by the company’s chairman, Gary Paykel, “This result included a bad debt and restructuring costs totaling $6.68 million, offset by a $4.99 million profit on the sale of surplus land at our manufacturing site in Cleveland, Australia.”

Paykel went on to state that the company directors are confident of the company’s ongoing prospects and maintained the dividend for the 2006/07 year at 18 cents per share.

In the statement Paykel commented on the company’s growth plans, “Appliances’ revenue grew strongly during the year as we continued the global expansion of the Fisher & Paykel brand.”

“Record sales in the United States, Europe and the Rest of World markets contributed strongly to this growth. The acquisition of Elba has strengthened our presence in Europe and the United Kingdom and has set the platform for our next phase of growth in those markets.”

“The New Zealand market declined in size during the year but we were successful in holding market share at our targeted levels. The Australian market was steady throughout the year and the Company increased market share on the back of some exciting new product introductions in the latter part of the second half.”

“Over the past five years Fisher & Paykel Appliances has become a truly international player. More than 81 percent of our revenue is now derived from markets outside of New Zealand.”

Paykel also made a particular mention of his company’s strategic relationship with the Whirlpool.

“We continue to supply them, under the strategic alliance agreement, motors for their washer plant in Clyde. This year saw the release in the New Zealand and Australian markets the first co-developed product, the AquaSmart washer. This has been met with tremendous support from both retailers and consumers. It has quickly become the highest selling model on the Australian market.”

In other news, Fisher & Paykel Appliances announced plans to relocate its Auckland based electronics factory operation to Thailand.

Production facilities for the manufacture of electronic circuit boards for use in Fisher & Paykel built appliances would be located in Rayong, Thailand on the same site as the proposed new Laundry plant.

The relocation of the facility was scheduled to be completed by December 2008.

In a statement prepared for the shareholder presentation today, John Bongard, CEO, said:

“Our decision to move the New Zealand Laundry and Electronic factories offshore to Thailand was a difficult one. Although it makes absolute sense for the business to be on an equal footing with our competitors in terms of costs, the emotional decision was one that the board did not take lightly. We have been a New Zealand manufacturer for 71 years, so the decision to relocate some of our manufacturing capability was not an easy one.”