ENZA, the monopoly apple exporter in New Zealand, has reached a compromise agreement with representatives of apple growers over making good the NZ$55.6m (US$24.2m) shortfall in the sector, most of which arose through foreign exchange losses. However, the deal is likely to meet with dissent on the part of growers.

Reached between ENZA and Pipfruit Growers New Zealand Inc, the compromise deal sees Enza paying for theNZ$21.1m of 2002 foreign exchange contracts, while growers continue to pay the NZ$30.3m of 2001 foreign exchange contracts, plus Omniport costs of NZ$4.2m. ENZA would repay the deductions already made from growers’ cartons in relation to 2002 foreign exchange contracts.

A significant majority of growers need to accept the deal, reported the Dominion newspaper. This corresponds to at least 50% in volume terms. John Dosser, managing director of ENZA, rejected suggestions that the return of deductions to growers, scheduled to commence as early as next week, was an attempt to pre-empt their decisions in ENZA’s favour.

Acceptance of the deal by an arbitration group representing about 50% of carton volume will be key to its success. The group, including the largest individual apple exporter Grocorp Pacific, said it was in discussions with ENZA but had yet to reach an agreement.