Premier Fishing boosted by positive momentum in erratic South African squid market

Premier Fishing and Brands CEO Sooren Ramdenee and Board Chair Aziza Begum Amod.

Cape Town, South Africa-based seafood company Premier Fishing and Brands has reported a 15 percent increase in revenue for the six months ending 28 February, 2023.

In its unaudited, consolidated results, publicized 25 May, Premier Fishing and Brands reported revenue for the six months from the end of August 2022 to the end of February 2023 increased to ZAR 258 million (USD 13.9 million, EUR 12.9 million) from ZAR 224 million (USD 12 million, EUR 11.2 million) a year prior.

In February 2023, Premier staked its claim atop South Africa’s squid market after increasing its controlling stake in Talhado Fishing Enterprises to just over 80 percent. The company's positive revenue trend is a sign squid catches in South Africa substantially improved over the past year.

Premier also enjoyed greater demand for its products from Europe and Japan, which both purchased more squid, and demand from the U.S., China, and Japan for its rock lobster.

“The export demand for the squid has been strong, and overall customer demand for the group’s exports remains strong,” PFB said.

In the half-year, Premier reported a 4 percent increase in gross profit to ZAR 104 million (USD 5.6 million, EUR 5.2 million) from ZAR 99 million (USD 5.3 million, EUR 4.9 million), while its profit before tax grew 33 percent to ZAR 18 million (USD 968,000, EUR 897,000) from ZAR 13 million (USD 699,000, EUR 648,000).

The company’s earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased 29 percent to ZAR 32 million (USD 1.7 million, EUR 1.6 million), up from ZAR 25 million (USD 1.3 million, EUR 1.2 million) for the same period the year prior.

Premier's financial performance confirms its reliance on squid for much of its revenue, which in recent years has become as inconsistent as the country's squid catches themselves.

“Volumes landed and sold and overall catch rates in the squid sector have improved compared to the prior year,” Premier CEO Sooren Ramdenee and Premier Chair Aziza Amod in a joint statement.

Previous years have not been as productive for the company. Its subsidiary, Premier Fishing SA (PFSA), one of South Africa’s largest vertically integrated food and fishing companies focusing on harvesting, processing, sales, and distribution of various seafood products, has in the past two years reported low squid catches that have hindered the group’s overall performance.

The company reported a 22 percent decrease in revenue in February 2022 due to the scarcity of squid resources, a situation compounded by a tough economic environment in South Africa and globally due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A similar trend appeared during the group’s end-year report in August 2022, when it posted a 17 percent dip in revenue “mainly as a result of the squid division.”

South Africa’s squid availability remains a challenge, with the South African Department of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries previously stating that the resource’s abundance “fluctuates widely, mainly due to biological factors, such as spawning distribution and survival rates of hatchlings and juveniles, and environmental factors, such as temperature, currents, turbidity, and macro-scale events like El Niños.”

Due to that inconsistency, Premier has aimed to ...

Photos courtesy of Premier Fishing and Brands

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