28 May 2020

Sanford posts $19m half year profit

10:39 am on 28 May 2020

Sanford has posted a lower first half profit on lower sales and softer prices for some species, with the Covid-19 related restrictions hitting sales.

Sanford seafood company.

Photo: Supplied / Sanford

The fishing company's net profit for the six months ended March was $19 million compared with $22.9m the year before.

Sales and prices for the lucrative toothfish were lower, although sales of its farmed salmon were stronger.

Chief executive Volker Kuntsch said the result below expectations and the pandemic had briefly disrupted operations and hit sales.

"Food service channels have been severely impacted by Covid-19. Domestic retail sales have been holding up well and we are hopeful of continuing growth here."

Revenue fell by 7 percent to $245.5m, and the company was looking to increase its online sales capability.

Kuntsch said the company was starting to see returns from its diversification into aquaculture with higher sales of salmon and greenshell mussels, which were growing faster than its fishing operations.

"The issues we face now are on the demand side. Consumer behaviour has changed and the foodservice industry is impacted through restrictions on people's movements and the

absence of tourism," he said.

Kuntzsch said volatile demand and an uncertain future meant it was unlikely the company would be able to make up the drop in first half earnings in the rest of the year.

The company cut its first half dividend to 5 cents a share from 9 cents last year to preserve cash.