Kingfish grower CleanSeas has unveiled a high-tech, super-sized rapid freezer that snap-freezes fish in just 22 minutes — compared to four hours for conventional fridges.

Kingfish reported slightly lower sales revenue of $10.8 million for the March quarter compared to $11.5 million in the previous quarter.

Year-to-date, sales are still up 23 per cent compared to last year.

Since announcing a return to profit last year — following a stormy period when production fell by 90 per cent — Clean Seas shares have recovered by about two-thirds (see price graph below).

The shares (ASX:CSS) closed down slightly at 5.5c on Thursday compared to a low of 3.1c last year.

The high-tech freezer has allowed the company to launch a new brand, SensoryFresh, which uses liquid nitrogen to rapidly freeze fish so they are almost ocean fresh.

“It all gets down to speed,” the company told investors. “To retain the optimum texture, the ice formation stage must be completed quickly. Conventional freezing typically takes up to 240 minutes to reach that stage, but Clean Seas’ new Liquid Nitrogen Rapid Freeze technology does it in around 22 minutes,” it told the market.

Chief David Head launched the brand at the Australian Embassy in Brussels this week, in association with the Seafood Expo Global and first products sold in international markets later this month.

Clean Seas' liquid nitrogen freezer.
Clean Seas’ liquid nitrogen freezer.

The super-freezer is to the company’s new in-house processing facility in Royal Park near Adelaide, not far from its Port Lincoln farms.

In an earlier note to investors Clean Seas said the facility was expected to materially increase market opportunities while lowering its cost of processing.

The company has invested $2.7 million in plant and equipment in the last half, with a further $1.2 million contracted for the year ahead.

For the quarter ahead, Clean Seas estimated outgoings of more than $13 million – ramping up production as it moves to expand its kingfish into global markets.

Clean Seas shares (ASX:CSS) have recovered after a stormy few years
Clean Seas shares (ASX:CSS) have recovered after a stormy few years

“The Q3 FY18 cash flow report highlights the company’s planned investment in increased biomass [fish] to facilitate sales growth in FY19 and beyond, which due to being inventory is included in net cash used in operating activities,” it wrote.

Its latest quarterly reported customer receipts of $10.8 million, with $9.65 million left in the bank at the end of the period.

And with just one quarter left of the year it has reaffirmed its guidance to increase sales volume to between 2650 and 2850 tonnes – as much as 25 per cent more than the previous year.

It said the increased competition in the Australian market meant it would likely achieve in the lower end of its guidance – and would increase as the “SensoryFresh” products entered the market in the new financial year.