Oyster-killing virus rattles Angel Seafood investors, shares slide 15pc
Food & Agriculture
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Angel Seafood has confirmed it is free of an oyster-killing virus after a scare in the Port River region of Adelaide last week.
But the scare has rattled the market. Shares dropped 15 per cent to 16.5c in Monday morning trade. The stock closed at 16c, compared to its February issue price of 20c.
In a note to growers last Thursday, the SA Department of Primary Industries advised that Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome (POMS) had been found in the region — the first time it had been detected in the State.
Trade in Angel shares (ASX:AS1) was halted while an audit was carried out — and Angel today announced it was POMS-free.
“The company has audited all its water holdings and can confirm that it can find no evidence of POMS.
“Primary Industries and Regions SA has conducted further tests in oyster-growing areas across the State and will release their findings in due course,” it said.
Nevertheless, the stock was trading down on Monday morning.
Angel has about 8 million oysters in the water. The location of its growing areas was away from where the disease had been detected.
“The environmental conditions including salinity and water temperature — two important factors in the spread of POMS — are very different on the Eyre Peninsula verses the Port River,” Angel said.
Juvenile oysters – known as spat – supplied from Eyre Peninsula hatcheries were likely to be at least 70 per cent immune to the POMS virus.
As a precaution, the State regulator has temporarily suspended the movement of Pacific Oysters – a move supported by Angel.