EastPack Limited growers are to receive a 35 per cent bonus rebate of 7 cents per tray, increasing the total rebate to 27 cents per tray.
This means growers will share in more than $9.8 million worth of rebates for the 2016 season.
Investor shareholders will also benefit from a successful season, with a final dividend declared of 7 cents gross per share.
This brings the total dividend for the year to 12 cents gross per share, up 20 per cent from the previous year.
EastPack chairman John Loughlin says the company's accounts are in the process of finalisation and due for release in early March.
“At this stage, we are seeing a very strong result and we have sufficient confidence to make this announcement.
“We achieved excellent production efficiencies with good volumes of fruit and strong asset utilisation throughout the year. The benefits of our capital development programme, which have progressed over the last three years to improve packing and coolstore efficiencies, are starting to provide significant return on investment.
“It's great to be able to share profits generated by investment in infrastructure with EastPack Growers. In addition, our investment this year will give us the opportunity to further improve performance in future years.”
Under EastPack's constitution, the company guarantees a 20 cent minimum rebate each season. The 27 cent rebate is the largest since 2011 when EastPack returned 30 cents per tray to transactor shareholders.
EastPack chief executive Hamish Simson says in addition to packing record volumes for EastPack growers, the company also packed trays for other post-harvest facilities whose growers required near-infrared grading technology to recover fruit which would have otherwise failed to meet Zespri dry matter requirements.
“One of the most pleasing things about the 2016 season is that despite record volumes, in particular Hayward productivity, EastPack Growers generally had the ability to pick and pack their fruit at the best time because we understand how important that is to them.
“We were also delighted to be in a position to help other growers who pack with other facilities, no questions asked.”
Hamish says crop estimates for the 2017 season indicate reduced fruit volume from the 2016 season record with green on-orchard productivity looking closer aligned to that achieved in the 2014 growing season.
However, gold volumes are expected to increase slightly on 2016 with more orchards coming into full production.