Oceana Chairman, Mustaq Brey, reported a growth of 18% in earnings per share and headline earning per share for the financial year ended 30 September 2009.
Group turnover increased by 10% whilst operating profit before abnormal items improved by 29%. “The canned fish and horse mackerel businesses showed exceptional improvement over the prior year whilst some of the other business units were negatively affected by the global downturn and the strong rand in the second half of the year,” he said.
Commenting on inshore fishing operations, CEO Francois Kuttel said that profitability from canned fish was above the previous year. The size and quality of fish landed was good resulting in improved canning yields.
Canned fish production at the St Helena Bay cannery was accordingly above the prior year level.
According to Kuttel, production at the Etosha Fishing cannery was lower due to a realignment of quota holders which provide quota to the company.
“Sales of canned pilchards on the local market increased in volume terms although insufficient product was available to fully meet demand. Additional supplies were imported from several international suppliers to help meet market demand and maintain Lucky Star’s market leadership position. This in turn gave rise to significantly increased working capital requirements.”
Volumes and margins declined at Glenryck Foods in the United Kingdom as a consequence of depressed economic conditions.
Reporting on fishmeal operations, Kuttel said that fishmeal production volumes were lower than last year; however, higher selling prices on the local and export markets were higher resulted in improved profitability.
“Catches have not been good and at 30 September, the close of the anchovy ‘A’ season, Oceana had landed 42% of the quota available to it, slightly ahead of the industry total.”
Profits from the lobster business were lower for the full year. Export prices were lower in foreign currency terms and with effect of the stronger Rand exchange rate during the second half of the financial year resulted in lower turnover.
A protracted strike by fishermen in the squid industry caused squid catches to be lower than those of last year. The low volumes and significantly lower Euro selling prices resulted in a loss being recorded.
Sales volumes in the French fry business were lower than the prior year with the economic downturn having affected all major clients. Profits and margins were negatively impacted by high raw potato prices.
In the midwater and deep-sea fishing division, Kuttel said that profitability from horse mackerel operations was significantly better due to the improved fishing performance and improved margins.
“Catches were very good with excellent catch rates per trip and an improved mix of larger fish. Volumes in Namibia were significantly up on last year as a result of the introduction of a third midwater trawler in August 2008.
“High turnover was offset by a large decline in the trading of fish purchased from foreign fleets operating in Mauritania and the Pacific, resulting in overall turnover increasing by 8%.”
Hake results were negatively affected by weak markets.
Reviewing cold storage, Kuttel said, “Occupancy levels were generally lower as result of a decline in customers’ import volumes with the exception of the stores at Walvis Bay, and Duncan Dock, Cape Town which experienced higher utilization.
“Handling activity levels of frozen product were slightly below those of the prior year. The sterilized fruit handling facility at Maydon Wharf showed improved results.
“Overall, operating profit showed a satisfactory improvement”, he concluded.
A final dividend of 153 cents per share was declared which, together with the interim dividend of 31cents, brings the total dividend for the year to 184 cents per share, an increase of 18% on the 2008 total dividend of 156 cents.
Considering future prospects, Brey said, “The group is well placed to take advantage of an improvement in global economic conditions. Fishing conditions in the Southern African region remain reasonably stable and the group has opportunities for further organic growth.”
12 November 2009
For further information please contact:
Mbuyi Mtsheketshe Group Corporate Affairs and Transformation Manager
Oceana Group Limited
Tel: +27 21 – 410 1400 Fax: +27 21 – 419 5979 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org