SOUTH AFRICA – Sea Harvest, a South African fishing and food company, said that the group was well positioned for further growth after its 2018 acquisition spree saw its asset surge from US$179.6 million to US$335.03 million in the year ended December.

Sea Harvest chief executive Felix Ratheb said that the group continued invest in long term and sizeable investments as part on an overall sustainability strategy of its business, reports Business Report.

“These included acquiring two sizeable businesses, namely Viking Fishing and Viking Aquaculture; taking ownership of our second Sterkoder freezer vessel, which extended Sea Harvest’s reach in the international market;

implementing efficiency projects, including a technology upgrade from Iceland in our main Saldanha Bay factor.

This positive result was achieved after having to absorb significant once-off transaction and restructuring costs,” Ratheb said

Viking Fishing and Viking Aquaculture were founded in 1978 and 2012, respectively.

In February, Sea Harvest announced that it had made a bid to acquire the remaining 44% of stake in Australian shrimp fishing group Mareterram.

Ratheb said that he was confident of the value that a combination of Sea Harvest and the Viking Group would result into improved performance.

This, he pinned to the complementary nature of the fishing businesses and the diversification into other wild caught species and aquaculture.

“The group has accounted for the 51percent interest as a non-wholly-owned subsidiary, with its results from July 2, 2018, being fully consolidated with that of the group’s results.

The group has elected to measure the non-controlling interest in Viking Aquaculture at its proportionate percentage of the recognised amounts of the acquiree’s identifiable net assets,” he noted

The fishing giant also co-founded the South African Fisheries Development Fund, established to support small, medium and micro enterprises in the small-scale fishing sector in the period.

According to the company, the Viking Staff Trust paid out US$8.29 million to 835 employees in addition to a US$2.26 million worth of Sea Harvest Group shares allocated to a new Viking Staff Trust.

The company reported headline earnings of US$19.2 million for the year, an increase of 18% compared to the same period last year while its revenues grew 21% to US$178.22 million from US$147.14 million

Sea Harvest said that said that the growth of its asset portfolio in the period under review was in line with its organic and an acquisitive expansion plan.