Oceana sees performance recovery in H2

Announces the appointment of Mazars as its newest external auditing firm.
Image: Supplied

Troubled JSE-listed fishing company Oceana Group may be on the road to recovery, if its performance expectations for the second half of its financial year are anything to go by, with significant third-quarter sales increases forecast across its key product segments.

In a voluntary trading update for the nine months ended 26 June 2022, released on Sens on Thursday morning, the group reported a 14.5% uptick in canned fish sale volumes from the previous comparable period. It further noted a 50% uptick in profitable local production of the product.

Oceana’s African fishmeal and fish oil production volumes rose 28% to 21 815 tons. Sales volumes, according to the group, are now in line with the prior period year-to-date, “having recovered from the impact of lower opening inventory levels.”

Looking at its troubled United States operations, the group reported a 62% rise in gulf menhaden landings. This led to a 115% uptick in the availability of fishmeal and fish oil inventory going into the fourth quarter, compared with the prior comparable period.

“Continued demand for affordable, healthy protein, good pilchard catch rates and continued strong pricing in our fishmeal and fish oil businesses, have delivered a strong operational third quarter,” CEO Neville Brink says in a statement.

The company also noted that horse mackerel demand in Africa is still strong, while hake demand from Europe is improving.

However in less positive news, high fuel and quota costs and poor catch rates in South Africa had a negative impact on hake and horse mackerel operations. Sales volumes for the period were reportedly 10% lower, due mainly to scheduled vessel maintenance in Namibia in the first half of the year.

Auditing woes

The group also noted the appointment of Mazars as its new external auditing firm. This comes after PwC resigned from the role, citing a strained relationship between itself and the Oceana board.

Read: Now PwC resigns as Oceana’s external auditor

Oceana noted that Mazars’s appointment to the role will take effect immediately, further warning that because the appointment of the auditing firm happened so close to the release of its full-year results, stakeholders may see a delay in the release of the latter.

“… consequently the board expects to report provisional reviewed results for the year ending 30 September 2022 by no later than 31 December 2022, and to release audited results by no later than 31 January 2023 in terms of JSE Listing Requirements.”

The fishing group has faced some turbulent times in the past few years and has previously delayed the release of its financial results.

In February, former Oceana CEO Imraan Soomra resigned from his position with immediate effect. Soomra’s surprising departure came a short period after CFO Hajra Karrim was placed on “precautionary” suspension.

Oceana gave no reason for Karrim’s suspension at the time. Brink was appointed CEO in February.

Read: Oceana confirms FSCA investigation

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