Sanford profits 'below expectations' for first half of year

The seafood company said it's not likely to make up the shortfall in the second half of the year.
The seafood company said it's not likely to make up the shortfall in the second half of the year. Photo credit: Getty

The country's largest seafood company says its earnings for the first half of the financial year were "below expectations", in part because of coronavirus and in part because of a shortfall in catch volumes.

Sanford posted a net profit of $19 million after tax for the first half of the year, down from $22.9 million for the same period the year before.

The company's total revenue was $245.5 million, a 7 percent decrease on the same period in 2019.

The drop in profit was partly due to a shortfall in catch volumes for toothfish, caused by weather factors, and lower prices for that species globally as a result of COVID-19, the company said on Thursday.

Sanford's chief financial officer Katherine Turner said despite being classed as an essential business, the nationwide coronavirus lockdown still had an effect on the company's production.

"We did experience a short interruption to normal operations in March while we put in place changes right across the business which were necessary to meet Government COVID-19 safety requirements. However, thanks to incredible efforts from our fishing, farming and processing teams, we were able to return to relatively normal operations and supply levels within two weeks."

The issue now was a drop in demand, Turner said. 

"Consumer behaviour has changed and the foodservice industry is impacted through restrictions on peoples' movements and the absence of tourism. We are very conscious of the challenges faced by many of our customers."

"Retail and on-line sales, although only a small share of our total business, show strong growth and we are aggressively pursuing further leads in these areas."

The company's chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said it was unlikely the company would be able to make up the first-half shortfall in the second half of the year due to volatile demand and uncertainty in global markets.