Major science highlights for Scion in past financial year

25 October 2006

The 2005/06 financial year was a challenging but successful year for Crown Research Institute Scion, said Scion Chairman, Dr Russ Ballard, in announcing the organisation’s annual result.

Dr Ballard says the past 12 months have seen Scion as a whole achieve some major science highlights, receive two business awards and make significant progress towards delivery on its Biomaterials Futures Strategy. Scion’s annual result reflected a transition year, with the transfer of an additional two business units into Ensis, the 50:50 unincorporated joint venture between Scion and Australia’s CSIRO.

Scion has also experienced difficult trading conditions in the forestry sector, flat Government revenue and lower-than-expected commercial revenues from Atlas Technology, Scion’s software development arm, said Dr Ballard.

Scion reported a group operating deficit before taxation of $1.297 million for the 2005/06 financial year, compared with a profit of $1.002 million in the previous year.

Dr Ballard said the early-stage development pressures on Ensis, coupled with a difficult trading environment, had made the year challenging for Scion, but recent structural changes within Ensis have streamlined management, support services and governance, taking the business into a new phase of development in the next financial year.

Dr Ballard says both Scion and CSIRO are committed to Ensis as the best way to build forest and forest products research in both countries and the management change is a reflection of that commitment.

“Forestry research remains a core part of Scion’s vision and Biomaterials Strategy. A survey of the sector confirms our own beliefs that Ensis is beginning to deliver real value to industry in both countries, and we are looking forward to taking the unincorporated joint venture to a new level.

“The purpose of our Biomaterials Strategy is to develop materials and energy sources that are renewable and sustainable. This includes the development of new manufacturing and waste management processes as a truly sustainable way of meeting consumer demands now and into the future.”

Dr Ballard says Scion is making good headway in helping New Zealand to make the concepts of sustainability real in a modern world.

“Building on our foundation of forestry knowledge, Scion is developing technologies which can transform renewable resources and waste streams into new materials, high-value products and environmentally-friendly processes.”

“Such technologies are the way of the future and it is vital that New Zealand keeps up with these global trends.”