Scion Annual Report highlights science value to customers

For immediate release
12 October 2016

Today, Crown research institute Scion released its annual report, which presents a very successful year in creating science impact and financial performance.

Chair Tony Nowell says Scion’s success is founded on high-quality relationships with customers, iwi partners, industry and government agencies.

“Our strong focus on customers and partners has generated a dynamic working relationship that has resulted in excellent science solutions.

“Take our rural fire researchers for example. They carried out experimental, controlled burns in wilding pines to collect information that will help rural fire fighters manage increasing forest fire risk. And in real-live situations the same researchers used fire simulation software to help plan and direct field operations for rural fire teams fighting two major fires in Marlborough.

“Assessing the quality of wood in our forest resource is hugely important to both forest growers and wood processors. Our wood quality scientists addressed this need by building a world-first multi-measurement instrument, which they called ‘Discbot’. This novel wood scanning technology helps forest growers and wood processors assess a range of wood properties that affect the quality of sawn timber and other end products,” said Mr Nowell.

Scion’s impact continues to be realised in other sectors, such as commercial packaging. A unique commercial-scale, cool room test facility was commissioned and is now being used to test different coating and ink technologies to help packaging companies improve the performance of their cardboard boxes along the supply chain.

Scion also successfully scaled-up environmentally-friendly bioadhesives under commercial conditions in two wood processing plants. This technology responds to growing consumer demand in high-value export markets for wood products made with natural, non-formaldehyde glues.

Scion’s Te Papa Tipu Māori Plan to develop and deliver outcomes in partnership with Māori is continuing to gain momentum. Partnerships include working with Ngāti Porou around governance models, restoring the critically endangered white ngutukaka, which was returned to the East Coast iwi in September, and enhancing options for propagating and breeding indigenous trees and also ways to build commercial and amenity value from tōtara in Northland.

Chief Executive Warren Parker says during the year Scion additionally delivered savings of more than an estimated $20 million to businesses through its unique science problem-solving capabilities.

“Our commercially sensitive work maintained access to export markets, reduced mill down time and product faults, lowered waste disposal costs and lessened biosecurity threats.

“The ability of our scientists to solve technical problems in an advanced manufacturing plant one day, and next day discover globally unique intellectual property in one of our laboratories, is enormously valuable to our customers and New Zealand, said Dr Parker.

The company’s financial results were very positive.  Revenue grew 4.6 per cent to $49.6m (budget $49.1m) and net profit after tax of $1.8m ($1.6m) yielded a pre-reinvestment return on equity of 7.8 per cent.

Scion’s win at the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards on 30 June for a partnership to commercialise a new wood reinforced plastic product that could be used in cars, appliances and a range of consumer products finished the year on a high note.

Scion’s complete Annual Report can be downloaded from