Clearwater Seafoods sales have jumped up but it may come with a cost

Chronicle Herald Staff Photo

Chronicle Herald Staff Photo

Clearwater Seafoods, the Halifax-based seafood giant, is planning for the future, even as their cost of doing business increases.

An analysis of the company’s annual reports over the past five years shows their sales have increased by 34.1 per cent and the company’s cost of goods sold has risen by nearly the same amount, at 29 per cent.

Catherine Boyd, Manager of Sustainability and Public Affairs for Clearwater, said the increase in costs is due to labour expenses, procuring a product outside of its fishing practices and changes in fuel costs.

Clearwater has continued to do well even within the limits put in place by the Total Allowable Catch (TAC), a program that limits the amount of catch for certain species of fish.

The TAC fluctuates from year to year depending on the health of each fish stock and the assessment of each countries respective governing body

As detailed in their 2014 annual report, Clearwater has previously expressed concern over this issues.

“Any material increase in the population and biomass or TAC could dramatically reduce the market price of any of our products,” the company writes.

Even natural events can disrupt their sales. In their 2015 annual report they concluded that their sales for the first half of 2015 suffered as a result of “challenging weather both at sea and on land.”

An increase in Clearwater’s cost of goods while their sales suffer could lead to a loss of earnings for the company. At the moment that seems unlikely, as Clearwater has recently acquired a major competitor.

As of the first quarter (Q1) of 2016 that company’s acquisition is now paying financial dividends.

Macduff Acquisition

The largest point of growth for Clearwater in 2016 Q1 resulted from the purchase of Macduff Shellfish Group Limited, the United Kingdom’s largest processor of wild shellfish, for $206 million.

“We’re always looking for new ways to grow our company and increase value,” said Boyd, “The result of whether or not we’ve been successful in [increasing the value of Clearwater by acquiring Macduff] will be born out in the subsequent years financial statements.

The 2015 fiscal year saw Clearwater post a loss of $20 million. Boyd refused to discuss or provide a reason for the financial loss.

“I’m sorry,” she said as the nature of the company’s 2015 fiscal earnings were brought up. “I’m sorry, I can not.”
 

2016 Q1 Results

Despite the loss, the company has rallied strong in its 2016 first quarter results. According to the 2016 Q1 report, the company listed $15.1 million in earnings. According to an investor’s presentation available on the company’s website, they credit their 54 per cent increase in sales from 2015 Q1 to 2016 Q1 in large part as a result of the Macduff acquisition. “Macduff expands our supply by more than 15 millions pounds or 20 [percent],” the company wrote in their 2016 Q1 Interim Report.

Acquiring MacDuff also boosted the companies sales by $25.8 million dollars, or 22 per cent of the quarter’s $116 million in sales. As a result of their successful Q1, the stock of Clearwater Seafoods has jumped since the beginning of the year.