20 Nov 2014

Sanford eyes tuna business sale

2:14 pm on 20 November 2014

The seafood and aquaculture company Sanford said it was likely to sell its Pacific tuna business.

Sanford's Timaru processing facility

Sanford's Timaru processing facility. Photo: Supplied

Lower prices for skipjack tuna has meant the firm's full-year profit came in below expectations at more than $22 million, up 10 percent.

Overall group sales fell 2.2 percent to about $452 million.

Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said pulling out of the Pacific tuna sector depended on finding a buyer for two of its vessels.

"We only really have two options there. One is to either vertically integrate more into that business; right now we are fishing the specie skipjack tuna and the next step would be to move further down that supply chain, and that would demand us opening a cannery, and that is essentially another commodity business. So I'm not sure that would be the right option."

"The other option would be to look at divesting from that business, and spending our money in other areas where we can move beyond a pure commodity image. So I think that would be a very sensible option."

Mr Kuntzsch said the sale would reflect what was happening in the marketplace: "It is really dependent on what the attitude is out there in terms of finding buyers for our vessels. It's a very capital-intensive part of our business and you wouldn't really want to sell your vessels if the market is in such a state that there's no demand for it."

"So for the time being we are looking at the market to see to identify interested buyers. If people come up that would like to purchase our vessels we would most likely go ahead. If not, we continue fishing and utilising our capacities there."

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