Sealord owner denies report Nissui looking to exit

Company scotches media report that its Japanese investor is looking to leave the business after profits tumbled last year.

Kura, the owner of fishing group Sealord, has scotched a media report that its Japanese investor is looking to exit the business after profits tumbled last year on a charge against an Argentinian venture.

Tokyo-based Nippon Suisan Kaisha, which owns half of Kura, is trying to exit the business after taking over Sealord's lucrative European marketing arm, Fairfax media reported this week.

But Kura chairman Whaimutu Dewes said the report was "quite wrong".

"Kura's shareholders are supportive of the work being done to address the issues in the Argentinian business," he says in a statement.

Sealord has not released results for the six months ended March 31, but Aotearoa Fisheries, which owns the other half of Kura on behalf of Maori tribal interests, reported profit more than halved to $7.2 million from $17.3 million, reflecting its share of Sealord's loss for the period.

"Sealord are in the process of exiting their Argentinian fishing operation, and included in the group profit of $7.2 million is an investment impairment charge of $7 million in relation to the Argentinian business," Aotearoa said in its first-half report.

Aotearoa also owns Moana Pacific Fisheries and OPC Fish and Lobster wetfish and rock lobster businesses, as well as paua and Pacific oyster processing. Total revenue in its first half fell to $83 million from $86.6 million. It recorded a loss of $5.3 million for its share of Sealord, compared to a profit of $6.7 million a year earlier.

Kura took a $10 million charge against its Yuken business in Argentina in 2012 after a soaring peso and rampant inflation drove up costs.