29 Aug 2019

Salmon farmer says profits down reflects declining fish quality

11:31 am on 29 August 2019

New Zealand King Salmon says its full year net profit is down nearly a third, partly because of a write-down in the value of its fish stocks.

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New Zealand King Salmon says its full year net profit is down nearly a third. Photo: Supplied

The Marlborough-based salmon fish farmer made $11.4 million in the 12 months to June, which is down 29.4 percent on the year earlier, reflecting the declining quality of fish.

Sales volumes were down 1 percent but revenue was up 7.7 percent to $172.6m, with strong sales growth in the key markets of North America and other Asian markets, excluding Japan and China, while sales to China were up from a small base.

Still, the company's underlying profit was down 4 percent to $25.2m, and tracking to meet guidance of between $25m and $28.5m in the year ahead.

"We are responding decisively to elevated mortality with three key strategies; firstly, we are introducing a new single year class production model, as well as upwelling systems to bring cooler water to the surface, to counter expected warm sea temperatures," said managing director Grant Rosewarne.

"Secondly, we are awaiting ministerial approval to relocate low flow farms to inshore high flow sites and, finally, we have applied to establish New Zealand's first open ocean finfish farm," he said.

He added that the application to establish a farm 7km north of Cape Lambert in the Cook Strait had been made to the Marlborough District Council, with a decision expected by early next year.

The company expected to spend $20m in the coming year to improve the quality of the fish stocks, which included enhancements to infrastructure.