Sanford plans ‘centre of excellence’

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High view . . . Looking down on Sanford's plant at PrimePort Timaru. PHOTO:SUPPLIED

by Chris Tobin

Sanford is consolidating its Timaru operation to establish it as a “centre of excellence” for white fish processing.

“Sanford has been going through a process of rebalancing where we process our white fish in the South Island,” a company spokesman said.

The company announced last week that 17 jobs would be cut at Bluff for white fish processing as part of its restructure plan to focus on premium salmon production from Stewart Island waters.

“We have experienced a number of changes with the amount of fish we land in the South and with our customer demands,” the spokesman said.

“This has driven us to consolidate our white fish processing in Timaru and we intend to really invest in what we are doing here, turning the site into a centre of excellence for white fish processing.”

The company’s Havelock site will become a centre of excellence for Greenshell mussels.

“For now, we don’t anticipate any change in staff numbers in Timaru, but the situation is constantly evolving and we are very positive about the future.

“We have our thriving deepwater fishing operations here, working side-by-side with the processing team, all of whom feel that Timaru is a wonderful place to be.”

In May, Sanford reported an 8% decline in first-half operating earnings after the death of a crew member kept one of its deep-water vessels in port for three months.

The company reported adjusted earnings before interest and tax of $32.6million for the six months ended March 31, down from $35.4million the year before.

The figures excluded restructuring costs and a $9.9million insurance settlement in the 2018 period.

Net profit was $22.9million, including a $4.1million gain on the sale of quota, and was down 16% from the year earlier figure including the insurance gain. Revenue of $265million was down almost 3%.

Chief executive Volker Kuntzsch said the death of Steffan Stewart on the San Granit in November had a big impact across the Sanford “family” and was also reflected in the firm’s result.