2 Sep 2020

Revenue fall for seafood company in wake of pandemic

2:23 pm on 2 September 2020

The earnings of seafood company Sanford have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sanford chief executive Volker Kuntzsch speaking at the announcement on cameras on fishing boats by PM Jacinda Ardern, left, and Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash, right.

Sanford chief executive Volker Kuntzsch (centre) says the company is adapting to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: RNZ / Joanna MacKenzie

Third quarter revenue was down 15 percent on a year ago, and the company warned the fourth quarter was not looking any better.

Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said the company had seen the impact most in its fisheries portfolio.

"Commodities like squid have suffered from price and volume reductions and hoki production had to return to a fillet block focus for retail, reversing the previously undertaken shift to higher value fillet production for foodservice," Kuntzsch said.

International markets remained volatile, with the food industry seriously impacted and retail demand only partially offsetting the losses, he said.

The company said consumer fears, and the association of the virus with fish, had affected sales.

Kuntzsch said the company was making changes to adapt to the challenges.

"Until recently, Sanford did not have a directly employed representative in some of its larger markets, but we are addressing this by making rapid adjustments to our sales team and appointing partners who are more focused on retail."

The company said cost reductions would also be implemented - it recently announced the closure of its Tauranga processing plant, with the loss of 66 jobs.

The company's short term expectations are subdued and the full year earnings result in November is expected to reflect the tough second half it had.

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