SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s Premier Fishing has reported a 40% increase in full-year net profit to US$6.49 million boosted by strong sales volume, good catch rates and acquisition of squid fishing business, Talhado,

According to Business Day, the landed and sales volumes for the squid division more than doubled in the year to ended August, pushing up the operating profit for the division by 431%.

The company sales rose by 20% to US$33.5 million.

“The group continues to focus on the expansion of its abalone farm, additional acquisitions and increasing the diversification of its product basket,” the company said in a statement

“The group expects an increased contribution to the operational performance of the group resulting from the acquisition of Talhado, which includes synergies as a result of cost savings.”

Lobster division maintained its margin attributed to strong volumes in the segment, increased market prices and good catch rates which were offset by a stronger rand.

South coast lobster quota increased from 133 metric tons in 2017 to 135 metric tons in 2018, the west coast rock lobster quota decreased from 87 metric tons to 64 metric tons while contracted quota of this species increased from 97 metric tons to 101 metric tons for the year.

It has a comprehensive portfolio including squid, lobster, small pelagics, hake deep-sea trawl, hake longline, horse mackerel, swordfish and tuna; owns an abalone farm and invests in organic fertilisers.

The company completed the acquisition of 53.35% stake in Talhado Group in May for US$7.24 million.

The acquisition resulted in higher fishing rights and an increased number of vessels operating in the squid fishery from four in 2017 to 22 in 2018.

The group started expansion works in its abalone division adding an extra capacity of 40 metric tons over the year and full construction is expected to be finished during Q1 2019.

The hake division, in which harvests, processes and markets through a joint venture with Blue Continental Products Hake, the firm recorded a total allowable catch (TAC) of 700 metric tons.

Business Day speculates that Premier is set to clinch an offshore acquisition shortly, possibly an operation based in the US.