Reviewed Group Results and Dividend Declaration for the year ended 30 September 2007 and Further Cautionary Announcement
Oceana Increases Headline Earnings Per Share by 44%
Oceana Chairman, Mustaq Brey, reported a substantial growth in headline earnings for the financial year ended 30 September 2007. “These excellent results were due mainly to the significant improvement in margins in specific sectors, and good progress in the rationalisation and consolidation of group operations and structures,” he said.
Earnings per share increased by 46% compared to the previous year following improved results in horsemackerel, fishmeal and lobster. Headline earnings per share were 44% above last year.
Group turnover increased by 3% whilst operating profit before abnormal items increased by 29%. Investment income declined due to lower average net cash balances following the group’s contribution of R126.7m to the funding of its black economic empowerment transaction during September 2006.
Commenting on inshore fishing operations, CEO Andrew Marshall said that profitability from canned fish was well below the previous year. As a result of lower total allowable catches (TACs) in South Africa and Namibia, and lower pilchard landings, production and supply of canned fish from other local producers, there was insufficient supply of product, despite increased imports, to satisfy demand on the domestic market. Sales volumes were lower and turnover declined. Glenryck Foods in the UK also experienced supply constraints in the procurement of canned pilchard resulting in lower sterling profits, although the business maintained canned tuna sales volumes and margins.
Reporting on fishmeal operations, Marshall said that profits improved substantially. “Landings of anchovy and red eye herring at 97,884 tons were well above the previous year (65,404 tons). Net realisations from fishmeal improved due to higher international prices and a significantly greater proportion being exported at better prices than achievable on the local market.”
Profits from the lobster business improved. “Oceana’s quotas were landed in full by close of season. Production costs per unit were lower mainly as a result of increased volumes and rationalisation of production facilities and vessels. Higher export prices and the weaker rand exchange rate resulted in increased profitability.”
Although squid catches were lower, higher export prices, improved vessel performances and the reversal of certain provisions resulted in increased profits. French fries performed well driven by strong volume growth, particularly in the quick service restaurant market, resulting in improved profits.
In the midwater and deep-sea fishing division, Marshall said that profitability from horse mackerel operations was significantly higher than the previous year. Despite a lower Namibian TAC, higher catches by the group’s own vessels and improved vessel efficiencies impacted favourably on fishing costs. In South Africa, Oceana’s vessels incurred lower costs per ton of fish caught due to fuel efficiencies and increased catch volumes. Turnover declined by 3% due to lower volumes sourced from external fleets and the lower Namibian quotas but good prices in African markets, combined with the weaker rand exchange rate, resulted in overall improved profitability.
Hake results were negatively affected by reduced quotas and, although fishing conditions and prices improved, earnings were lower than last year.
Reviewing cold storage, Marshall said, “Additional capacity at Bayhead and Epping stores came on stream late in the 2006 financial year. Average activity levels were higher than those of the previous year on a comparative basis; however, increased domestic consumer demand resulted in shorter dwell times and reduced storage revenue. Overhead costs, including depreciation, increased due to the expansions and provision for property rental and rates increases. Citrus volumes handled through the Maydon Wharf steri-fruit facility were higher than the previous year but at lower margins. Overall cold storage profits were marginally lower than in the previous year.”
A final dividend of 87.0 cents per share was declared which, together with the interim dividend of 19.0 cents, brings the total dividend for the year to 106.0 cents per share (2006: 74.0 cents).
Considering future prospects, Brey said, “With its strong balance sheet and ‘AA’ Empowerdex BEE rating, Oceana is well placed to participate in the expected industry consolidation. The recent strengthening of the rand exchange rate and pressure on certain fish resources are expected to limit earnings growth in the year ahead.”
Brey referred shareholders to a separate announcement made on 9 November regarding a proposed specific share repurchase by the company. He also referred to the cautionary announcements on 28 June 2007, 17 August 2007 and 28 September 2007 and advised shareholders to continue to exercise caution when dealing in the company’s securities until a further announcement was made.
09 November 2007
For further information please contact:
Mbuyi Mtsheketshe: Corporate Affairs and Transformation Manager
Oceana Group Limited
Tel: +27 21 410 1400 Fax: +27 21 419 5979