31 May 2012

Improved profitability expected by Sanford

7:12 am on 31 May 2012

Sanford expects its profitability to keep improving in the second half of the year, following what it says has been a testing six-months in which a rising currency squeezed margins.

The fishing company made a profit of $13.3 million in the six months to the end of March, an increase of 1.5% compared with the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1% to 230 million, with stronger sales of Greenshell mussels and scampi offset by declining volumes of hoki, squid, salmon and skipjack tuna.

Managing director Eric Barratt says margins shrank because the New Zealand dollar averaged 80 US cents during the period, compared with 76 US in the same period a year earlier.

But Mr Barratt says a 60% increase in the sales and volumes of Greenshell mussels helped boost the result.

He says during the same period last year, Sanford's Havelock plant was closed for four months due to reconstruction and it had just purchased its Christchurch plant Pacifica.

But Mr Barratt says this year both these plants were operating at full capacity.

He says China now represents nearly half of Sanford's scampi market - where as previously it was only a very small percentage of the company's overall scampi market.

Sanford expects an improved second half of the year, particularly if the New Zealand dollar remains below 80 US cents.

Mr Barratt says he's relatively optimistic and the company has put in place some reasonable forward currency cover around exchange rate fluctuations.

He says if markets remain in a similar condition he's hopeful of a reasonable result for the second six months.