Sanford reports 43% profit gain

Strong pricing helps drive value for fishing company.  

An $11 million insurance payout for earthquake damage to its Havelock mussel plant gave fishing company Sanford an extra leg-up as strong pricing helped deliver a 43% net profit gain for the half year to March.

Shares in NZX-listed Sanford eased 5c to $7.80, valuing the company at $730m.

Revenue for the period was up 18% to $272.8m while net profit was $27.3m, up from $19m in the previous corresponding period.

Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said the result was pleasing given the weather-related challenges Sanford faced.

“Cyclones, heavy rains and warmer ocean water temperatures impacted on our operations across the country. That meant smaller vessels had to seek shelter from the weather on several occasions and our farmed salmon in Stewart Island’s Big Glory Bay also felt the effects of warmer waters during the summer.”

The company also experienced maintenance problems with a vessel in its inshore fleet, leading to a $2.5m write-off and decommissioning of the 15-year old 22m trawler San Hikurangi.

Sanford said earnings from its wild catch improved by $2.4m because of better margins on orange roughy and squid while aquaculture earnings rose $3.7m on better prices for salmon and mussels.

In major export markets sales rose significantly in China and Europe but declined in Australia and North America.

New Zealand sales were $109.7m, up 38% on the same period a year earlier.

The company said its earnings per kilogram of harvested weight improved from 52c to 54c. On a rolling one-month basis its fresh sales as a percentage of the total were 8.5%, up from 8.2% in March last year. Rolling 12-month volume was 7518 tonnes, up from 7186 tonnes a year earlier.

The company declared a fully imputed interim dividend of 9c a share payable on June 15.

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