Oyster processing at Sanford plant. (Photo: Stock File)
Sanford finalises deal to sell Pacific oyster business
Friday, July 06, 2012, 23:20 (GMT + 9)
Sanford Limited this week finalised an agreement to sell its Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) farms in Northland to Aotearoa Fisheries Limited, informed Sanford Managing Director Eric Barratt.
In December 2011, Sanford shut down its Kaeo processing plant because of a OsHV-1 herpes virus outbreak that killed many of the juvenile oysters the firm was growing for harvest in the next two years, and thus likely reduced the volumes able to be harvested from its farms.
Although the company said it has confidence that, in the medium-term, there is potential to breed new oysters that can somewhat fight off this particular virus, Sanford ultimately decided to focus on its expanded Greenshell mussel business and leave Pacific oyster farming behind.
"We're removing the equipment out of the factory," said Barratt, Radio New Zealand reports. "The farms remain ... but we just wanted to be out of the Pacific oyster business, and this was a good transaction from both sides."
Sanford and Aotearoa Fisheries believe this sale strengthens both companies and therefore helps the aquaculture industry to continue to grow and flourish.
The sale includes 16 farms totalling 128 ha (six farms near Kerikeri, four farms in Whangaroa Harbour and six farms in Houhora Harbour). The sale comes with all relevant licences, racks, sticks and cages as well as oysters growing on the farms and vessels and vehicles relevant to the farms.
The parties are still discussing the fate of the two remaining Sanford employees involved in the farming business, but if they are not required by Aotearoa, Sanford will honour its commitments to them.
Pacific oyster farming represented about 1 per cent of Sanford’s total revenue.
There will be a loss on the sale of the farms and a likely impairment of the remaining processing assets, which will affect the second half of the year ended 30 September 2012 of approximately USD 2 million.
Sanford will continue with its involvement in the Bluff oyster fishery and the development of farmed Bluff oysters on its mussel farms in Big Glory Bay, Stewart Island.
- Sanford closes processing plant due to oyster deaths
By Natalia Real