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Aotearoa Fisheries back in black on profitable Sealord

Aotearoa Fisheries back in black in 2014 as Sealord returns to profit

By Paul McBeth

Dec. 12 (BusinessDesk) - Aotearoa Fisheries, which manages more than $530 million of fisheries assets for its iwi shareholders, returned to profit in the 2014 financial year after its major investment, Sealord group, was back in black after exiting its unprofitable South American business.

The Auckland-based company reported a profit of $21.9 million in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, turning around a loss of $6 million a year earlier, it said in a statement. That was largely due to a $12.7 million contribution from Sealord, which Aotearoa Fisheries jointly owns with Japan's Nippon Suisan Kaisha. Sealord posted a loss of $44.3 million in 2013, reflecting a $46.9 million loss on the sale of its Argentine business.

"Aotearoa Fisheries own divisions were ahead of target which is pleasing under difficult operating conditions like the exchange rate and soft demand for paua in Asia," chief executive Carl Carrington said. "This year our business will ramp up efforts in becoming a leader in sustainability which is wholly in line with our tikanga. There is no question that our long term future hinges on how well we perform in this area."

The company's other investments include inshore fishing businesses Moana Pacific and OPC Fish and Lobster, paua exporter Prepared Foods, and oyster producers Kia Ora Seafoods and Pacific Marine Farms.

The Maori-owned company's board declared a dividend of $8.8 million for the year after suspending a payment last year due to Sealord's loss.

Chairman Whaimutu Dewes said the company met targets on development, the completion of projects and achieving profit, and the company said the 2014 yearnings was "slightly ahead of plan."

In October, Sealord signed several quota pooling agreements with separate iwi collectives to share profits from the catching, processing and shelling of fish, adding up to 4,800 tonne of hoki, orange roughy, southern blue whiting and alfonsino to be caught on its vessels.

(BusinessDesk)

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