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Sanford lifts first-half profit 25pc

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/05/2017 Tina Morrison

Sanford, New Zealand's largest listed seafood company, lifted first-half profit 25 per cent as the benefits from selling more higher value fresh seafood offset the impact of lower prices for frozen commodity products and disruption from adverse weather.

Profit rose to $19 million, or 20.4 cents per share, in the six months ended March 31, from $15.3m, or 16.3 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

Revenue from continuing operations advanced 5 per cent to $230.4m.

Sanford is turning its focus to extracting more value from the seafood it harvests through its inshore and deepwater fishing boats, and salmon and mussel aquaculture units.

It is investing in new fishing boats, developing higher value brands for its products, and selling more fresh produce to top local restaurants.

In the latest period it benefited from increased pricing of higher value, non-commodity products such as toothfish, scampi and salmon and a production shift towards higher value items such as fillets.

"Sanford continues its journey towards becoming a company more focused on fresh and chilled product," chair Paul Norling and chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said in its interim report titled 'Making Waves'.

"This work is progressing well, but is not a rapid transformation and a large share of our volume will continue to be processed into frozen product and remains susceptible to fluctuations in global commodity prices for the time being."

The company will pay a 9 cents per share dividend on June 16, unchanged from the year earlier.

In the last 12 months, Sanford has developed new packaging for its mainstream Sanford Blue brand, is about to roll out its premium grade brand Sanford Black and is trialling the Tiaki brand with its partners.

In the first half, storms and heavy rains interrupted mussel harvesting operations, while strong winds meant smaller fishing vessels had to seek shelter and cooler water temperatures resulted in highly migratory species like skipjack tuna and jack mackerel being harder to catch.

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