SOUTH AFRICA – Sea Harvest, a South African seafood and fisheries group proved to be resilient in the face of a worldwide pandemic, attaining a 10% rise in group revenue to R4.38 billion (US$290m) from the previous year’s R3.97 billion (US$263.5m).

According to the company, it benefited from good performances from the South African Fishing segment, the Cape Harvest Foods unit and the Australian operations.

This was offset by continued challenges in the Aquaculture segment which was severely impacted by the effects of COVID-19.

Revenue for the year from the South African Fishing segment increased 12% to R2.76 billion (US$183.2m).

Sea Harvest’s profit for the year modestly rose by 1%

This is attributed to a weaker exchange rate and increased in-home consumption in both local and international retail markets.

However, their contribution was derailed by a lower-value product mix and a slowdown in both local and international foodservice markets, as a result of various lockdown levels being implemented across the globe, compounded by populations not yet fully comfortable with dining out.

The Cape Harvest Foods segment which incorporates Ladismith Cheese as well as Sea Harvest’s factory shops, fared well during the year, benefiting from increased in-home consumption offset by a slowdown in the foodservice markets.

Revenue for the segment increased to R1.021 billion (US$67.7m), 3% higher than R990 million (US$65.7m) of 2019.

Sea Harvest Australia delivered a 24% increase in revenue to R543 million (US$36m) benefiting from a 6% increase in prawn catch volumes as well as significant growth in the trading division on the back of higher sales of South African hake.

The Group also benefited from a 15% depreciation in the rand to the Australian dollar.

The Aquaculture segment, has been a major casualty of COVID-19 as a direct result of the inability to access markets in the Far East due to various levels of lockdown in the region, the curtailment of air freight from South Africa and the marked slowdown in local and export foodservice markets.

Likewise, the oyster and mussel operations, which supply almost exclusively into foodservice, have been severely affected by COVID-19.

The depreciation in the rand was insufficient to counter the significant decrease in average selling prices during the period.

On the back of the lockdowns and significantly lower average selling prices, the segment’s revenue for the year decreased 23% to R53 million.

The group’s overall cost of sales increased 7% on the back of good cost containment measures, despite absorbing R24 million (US$1.59m) in COVID-19-related costs.

Its gross profit for the year increased 17% to R1.48 billion (US$98.25m) with the gross profit margin expanding to 34%.

Selling and distribution expenses, marketing expenses and other operating expenses increased 13% to R843 million (US$55.96m) from the previous year’s R745 million (US$49.45m).

Its profit for the year modestly rose by 1% to R397.848m (US$26.41m) from the previous year to R397.85m (US$26.4m) while headline earnings climbed 3% to R420.9m (US$27.9m).

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