Upmarket cheese producer Kapiti Cheeses has stressed that it is still on track for an eventual listing.

The public but unlisted company currently has around 160 shareholders and chairman John Butterfield commented in the National Business Review: "We have indicated to our shareholders for a long time that when the time is right, when we have sufficient critical mass [we will list]. We're not there yet but it is certainly on the horizon."

Meanwhile, Kapiti's new NZ$5m (US$2.07m) factory, due to be opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark on next Thursday, will boost production by four to five times, and enable the company to take advantage of new export markets.

"There are export opportunities we have not been able to rigorously pursue - that will be different now as the ability to export is much freer after the passing of the new [dairy industry] bill," added Butterfield.

The company posted sales for its full year, to 31 May, of NZ$15.9m and a post-tax profit of NZ$376,000. A cornerstone shareholder, Wellington-based investment company Rangatira Limited, funded the new facility with an injection of NZ$2.2m and a bank loan.