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Sanford Profit Flat Despite Mussels Lift

04 June 2012

NEW ZEALAND - Fishing company Sanford has reported a near flat profit result of $13.3 million for the half year to March, boosted by a large increase in greenshell mussel sales.

Stuff.co.nz reports that shareholders will be paid an interim dividend of 9c on 20 June, unchanged from last year.

The result was achieved on total revenue of $230.3m, up just $2.3m higher, but impacted by a $2m impairment charge against the Australian seafood segment.

Market prices were "reasonably firm and stable for most species during a time when international commodity food prices have softened", Sanford said.

A more than 40 per cent increase in greenshell mussel sales was driven by the benefits of the acquisition of Pacifica Seafoods in Christchurch and the upgrade of the Havelock processing plant.

Mussel prices remained more stable this year and demand was firm in almost all markets.

Fans of Bluff oysters could also look forward to enjoying the delicacy for longer than usual after a recent decision to increase the quota allocation for the current season.

Settled weather and good catch rates had combined to make this one of the best Bluff oyster seasons for many years, Sanford said.

Sales of scampi (a type of deepwater prawn) increased significantly as the Chinese market opened up. Those higher sales were offset by lower volumes from hoki, squid and skipjack tuna.

Higher prices for hake, hoki, ling, mussels, skipjack tuna and squid were largely offset by the stronger New Zealand dollar.

Skipjack tuna prices reached record levels and were expected to remain strong because of "mediocre" catches in several fisheries.

Softening orange roughy prices to levels last seen three years ago were being blamed on concerns among some retailers in the United States over the sustainability of the fishery.

"These concerns are unfounded as all New Zealand orange roughy fisheries are robustly managed under the quota management system," Sanford said.

Inshore and aquaculture operations improved their profitability while deepwater returns were stable.

TheFishSite News Desk



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