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DURBAN - Oceana shares yesterday fell 0.24percent on the JSE, despite the company reporting that it expected its basic earnings a share and basic headline earnings a share for the six months to March to increase by 55percent and 65percent. Oceana shares closed at R83.99.

The country’s largest fishing company attributed the increase in earnings largely to the release of $13million (R156.7m) deferred taxation in Daybrook, following the reduction in the federal corporate tax rate in the US from 35percent to 21percent.

Oceana acquired 100percent of US-based fishmeal and oil specialist Daybrook Fisheries for $382m in 2016.

Daybrook added R191m to Oceana as operating profit in the last half-year results to the end of March 2017. The group said the basic earnings a share were expected to increase between 300.7cents and 320.1c a share, up from last year’s 194c a share.

“Basic headline earnings per share for the six months to end March are expected to increase by between 55percent and 65percent, to between 300.4c a share and 319.8c a share compared to 193.8c a share compared to the comparative period,” the group said.

It added that its operating profit before associate and joint venture income and fair value adjustments would also increase between 5percent and 12percent during the period.

“This increase is largely attributable to improvements in the canned fish and the horse mackerel and hake segments which were offset by a decline in US fishmeal and fish oil earnings.

“The solid performance of the canned fish segment was driven by increased sales volumes and improved margins owing to lower raw material and logistics costs, while horse mackerel and hake earnings benefited from increased volumes due to improved vessel utilisation and good catch rates,” Oceana said.

Despite expecting improved results, the group said Daybrook had to deal with challenges towards the end of last year as its operating results were adversely affected by the lag effect of lower pricing contracted during the latter part of 2017 and lower fish oil sales volumes because of a reduced oil yield in the 2017 fishing season.

The company expects its results to be released on or about May 17.