Premier delivers a dividend along with a solid interim performance
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JOHANNESBURG - Premier Fishing and Brands (Premier), one of South Africa’s largest black-owned and managed fishing groups, delivered a solid interim performance in the six months to February 28 and it further anticipated a good second half barring unforeseen events, chief executive Rushaan Isaacs said yesterday.
A 5 cents a share dividend was declared. This was after “much work and dedication” by the group and its employees during a period in which operations and markets were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, and a number of measures were taken to counteract this such as the multi-skilling of staff across operations, Isaacs said.
The share price rallied 10.13 percent to 87 cents at the close on the JSE yesterday.
Revenue increased 32 percent to R284m and gross profit was up 9 percent to R87m following increases in revenue from the squid, lobster, hake, and pelagic sectors at Premier. Premier’s squid is a preferred brand in Europe markets and 99 percent of its catch is exported.
Premier is vertically integrated and harvests, processes and markets fish and fish-related products. It holds medium to long-term fishing rights in squid, lobster, small pelagics, large pelagics, hake, and horse mackerel, and also owns an abalone farm and produces an organic fertiliser through the Seagro product range.
Isaacs said the group prided itself in being one of the most transformed in the fishing industry in terms of its management and employees. An industry-wide review of fishing licences was expected later this year.
She said they had ended the interim period on a strong note. Demand for the products remained very strong, despite Covid-19 which continued to linger as the third wave swept through parts of the world and was said to be approaching South Africa.
There had been a consistently solid performance across most operating divisions.
The squid sector enjoyed a strong turnaround from the prior period, due to the good availability of squid resources compared to the same period last year.
Isaacs said Premier expected this trend to continue through the financial year, and possibly also into the next.
Pelagic catches were expected to increase in the second half, in line with the industry trend.
The abalone sector remained a challenge due to the adverse effects of Covid-19 on Asian markets, but Premier was optimistic because the markets are slowly showing signs of recovery.
The South Coast Rock Lobster species remained a stable fishery and well managed resource, and the Premier Fishing brand was a well-recognised, leading brand in the US market. Higher landings and a higher revenue were experienced compared to the prior period, a trend expected to continue for the rest of the year.
Premier chief financial officer Brent Robertson said the firm remained cautious despite the positive interim results.
“The board of directors agreed that there is no confirmed period estimated for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact, nor is there a timeline for when the pandemic will be brought under control.”
Despite this, Isaacs said they were optimistic that the solid interim performance would continue until the end of the year and into next year.
Group non-executive chairperson Aziza Amod said the Premier team had been resilient and efficient and had maintained their focus on growth, job creation, development and sustainability, in spite of the global pandemic.
The group remained well-positioned to pursue further acquisitions aligned to its business and to further implement organic growth strategies.
Isaacs said, “The outlook for the group is an optimistically positive one. In the short-term, we are constantly revising our mitigating strategies and plans to get through the weak economic cycle by compiling and understanding scientific data to rebuild Premier’s position in the markets.
Premier employs up to 900 people on the coastal regions of South Africa and remained committed to contributing towards job creation for previously disadvantaged communities, to meet the group’s growth and empowerment targets.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE