Sanford posts increased profit

HAMISH MCNICOL
Last updated 05:00 25/05/2013

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Listed seafood company Sanford's half-year profit rose to $14.1 million for the six months to March, despite lower margins created by the high New Zealand dollar and more than $2m in fines from the United States.

Sanford's interim profit was up from $13.3m for the same period a year ago, with revenue up 6.2 per cent to $244.6m.

The result was achieved against a $6m decline in sales caused by the relatively higher New Zealand dollar, which Sanford said averaged US83c for the period, compared with US80c a year ago.

Managing director Eric Barratt said in the interim report prices for most fish had remained stable during the period.

There was currently a supply shortage for greenshell mussels due to slower growth rates in the Marlborough Sounds caused by the drought.

The dry summer meant the mussels had not grown at expected rates, causing some producers to close plants.

"Mussel prices have been firming recently in all markets and demand is firm," Barratt said.

Skipjack tuna catches were poor internationally meaning the price had reached a record level, and was expected to remain high for the next few months.

Barratt said the US District Court in Washington had fined the company US$1.9m in January this year and ordered a US$500,000 donation to the US National Fisheries Foundation. It was convicted of pollution and obstruction of justice charges relating to the running of its tuna boat San Nikunau in American Samoan waters.

Sanford said the second-half result would match the profitability of the first should catches and production levels meet expectations.

The interim dividend would be paid at 9c a share and shares in Sanford closed at $4.66 a share, down 9c.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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