29 Nov 2012

Sanford now looking ahead

7:02 am on 29 November 2012

Sanford is more upbeat about its outlook, after a high New Zealand dollar and court action took a toll on last year's profit.

The fishing company's full year profit fell 6.5% to $20.8 million in the year to the end of September compared with the same period a year ago. Revenue declined 1% to $460 million.

Sanford's Pacific Tuna operations had a troubled year as one vessel underwent upgrades and was prosecuted for illegally discharging polluted bilge water in American Samoa. And another underwent repairs after a fire.

The two incidents cost Sanford up to $9 million in lost time for both vessels and about $5 million in legal fees and expected fines.

Managing director Eric Barratt said the exchange rate has been a real challenge for the company.

The company has a currency hedging programme which is relatively successful.

"We made around $7 million contribution from our currency trading last year and we're quite well positioned to hedge against current levels of the dollar in the next year, but it's still a big challenge," he said

Mr Barratt said Sanford is relatively positive about the prospects for next year.

Shares in the company closed unchanged at $4.45 each on Wednesday.