CAPE TOWN: The Sea Harvest Group has delivered headline earnings of R278 million for the year ended 31 December 2018, an increase of 18% compared to the same period last year.
Revenue for the year grew 21% to R2.58 billion (2017: R2.13 billion), whilst operating profit grew 16% to R389 million (2017: R334 million). The operating margin was maintained at 15%.
The year under review, being the 2nd year post the Group’s listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), saw the Group extend its asset base significantly from R2.6 billion to R4.85 billion, in line with its organic and acquisitive growth strategy.
According to Sea Harvest Group CEO, Felix Ratheb, “Sea Harvest had a very busy 12 months. We continued to make sizable investments aimed at securing the sustainability of the business well into the future, while also driving transformation within the fishing industry and positively impacting local communities. This included acquiring two sizeable businesses, namely, Viking Fishing and Viking Aquaculture; taking ownership of our 2nd Sterkoder freezer vessel, which extended Sea Harvest’s reach in the international market; and implementing efficiency projects, including a technology upgrade from Iceland in our main Saldanha Bay factory. This positive result was achieved after having to absorb significant once-off transaction and restructuring costs.”
“The acquisition of Ladismith Cheese was effective 2 January 2019, bringing further diversification to the Group, and on 5 February 2019, Sea Harvest launched an offer to acquire the remaining 44% of our majority-owned Australian investment, Mareterram.”
Headline earnings per share (HEPS) increased 4% to 112 cents per share, impacted by the dilutive effect of the increase in the weighted average number of shares (WANOS) in issue. The Group has declared a dividend of 40 cents per share, up 29% over the prior year’s dividend of 31 cents per share.
According to Ratheb, the Group’s financial results, together with its recent rating as the most empowered company on JSE within Fishing and Food sectors, places the Company in a good position for further future growth. “The Viking deal was a transformational transaction for the Group, providing Sea Harvest with diversification into other species, additional economies of scale for its core operations and a diversified aquaculture business. The transaction positives extended to the creation of two new 100% black-owned entrants into the South African fishing sector and as a result of the deal, the Viking Staff Trust paid out R120 million to 835 employees and a further R38 million worth of Sea Harvest Group shares were allocated to a new Viking Staff Trust. Sea Harvest also co-founded the South African Fisheries Development Fund, established to support small, medium- and micro-enterprises in the small-scale fishing sector.”