NZ King Salmon raises 2018 earnings forecast

King Salmon shares have soared 78% this year as it reaps the benefits from its focus on premium products.

New Zealand King Salmon Investments shares rose to a record after the fish farmer raised its 2018 earnings guidance, saying it expects to lift volumes while maintaining prices and improving production.

The stock climbed 3.5 percent to $2.35 and has soared 105 percent this year. They were sold in the initial public offering in September 2016 at $1.12 apiece.

The Nelson-based company, the world's largest aquaculture producer of king salmon, said today that pro-forma operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation are expected to be between $24.5 million and $26 million in the year ending June 30, 2018, ahead of the $22.4 million forecast in its disclosure statement for its initial public offering in September 2016, and up from $21.6 million in 2017.

It cited "improved fish survival and stronger-than-forecast fish growth" during the 2017 summer,  a projected increase in 2018 sales volume to 8,000 metric tons compared with a forecast in its September 2016 product disclosure statement of 7,480mt, "solid" pricing in all markets and lower feed costs in the first half.

"They offer a product globally that's in good demand," said Peter McIntyre, an investment adviser at Craigs Investment Partners. "They're in the food segment of the market and that's what New Zealand is really good at and they are export orientated as well," he said. Management is "held in high regard" in the market and has been good at keeping the market informed since its initial public offering last year.

The first half of the 2018 financial year is expected to be "materially above" the comparable period, King Salmon said in a statement, without providing figures. Lower feed costs in the first half weren't expected to persist into the second half because it used more premium feed during the summer months, it said.

The company noted that the split of earnings between the first and second half of the financial year would differ from last year due to one-off factors and that the summer period may have a material impact on fish performance and full-year earnings.

(BusinessDesk)

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