Aquaculture stocks are swimming upstream – but not all are making a profit
Food & Agriculture
Facebook's "Business Fish" cosplay by Rundaria. Source: facebook.com/rundaria.cos
The ASX’s nine major aquaculture stocks increased revenue by an average of almost 50 per cent last year — though only four made a profit.
And their share prices are on the improve.
When we last checked in on the aquaculture theme in February, seven of the nine had lost share price value in the previous year. Most of the stocks are now looking healthier over the past six months — with an average 38 per cent improvement.
>> Scroll down for a table of ASX-listed aquaculture stocks and their recent performance
Murray Cod (ASX:MCA) is a star performer. The stock is up 150 per cent over the past six months, closing at 17c on Tuesday. It listed in January 2017 after raising $10 million at 5c per share.
Last week the fish farmer posted a 212 per cent improvement in revenue, up to $2.6 million. This included a 158 per cent uptick in fish sales.
Its full-year loss was $241,726, but that was a big improvement on 2017’s $6.4 million loss.
It was a strong recovery for the Murray Cod producer, who in November last year lost almost 8,000 cod after a mechanical failure.
“The fish loss probably affected turnover and profit by approximately $200,000,” chairman Ross Anderson told Stockhead yesterday.
“It was due to failure of a monitoring system we had purchased from the US. We have now developed our own purpose built monitoring system that is pretty well bulletproof and allows us to monitor ponds from anywhere in the world via our mobile phones. We have found it extremely reliable and it has multiple redundancies built in.
“We doubt we will ever have losses from that cause again.”
Reflecting on the company’s year, which saw it hit an all time trading high of 18c last month, Mr Anderson said Murray Cod owed it to, well, the Murray cod.
“It’s a beautiful business because it’s a very high-quality fish,” he said. “We’re uniquely positioned globally because it’s a very rare fish and a protected species.”
Murray Cod’s Murray cod differs from the cod one could catch fishing in the Murray River, as it’s pond-grown, meaning the fish never get near the muddy bottoms typically found along the Murray.
“It’s so much better than the wild fish and that’s why we’ve branded them Aquna, which is derived from the word ‘Akuna’, which is an Australian Aboriginal word meaning flowing water,” Mr Anderson told Stockhead.
“We’ve been working extremely hard on getting our capacity up and later this year we will be launching our smoked Murray cod – there’s very little high-quality white-flesh smoked fish in the world and the feedback we’ve had from the people who’ve tried it so far is outstanding.”
Seafarms (ASX:SFG) — which is building a massive prawn farm at the Top End — reported lower revenue after a virus outbreak. But its shares are still ahead 158 per cent over the past six months as the $1.5 billion “Project Sea Dragon” moves ahead.
Ocean Grown Abalone (ASX:OGA) posted 92 per cent higher revenue, up to $4.3 million, though its full-year loss ballooned 97 per cent to $3.5 million.
The sea snail producer has gained 11 per cent in share price value over the past six months, though its still 25 per cent short of its mark 12 months ago.
Huon Aquaculture (ASX:HUO), Clean Seas Seafood (ASX:CSS), New Zealand King Salmon (ASX:NZK) and Tassal Group (ASX:TGR) all posted modest revenue rises for the 2018 financial year, though Clean Seas in particular enjoyed a bumper 2018.
The kingfish producer increased its profit by a whopping 1,573 per cent, up to $3.4 million from $202k the year before.
Here’s a table of ASX-listed aquaculture stocks and their recent performance:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort