NZ King Salmon shares have lost 71% of their value this year – 5 things you shou

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    Allan Burgess
    Keymaster

    NZ King Salmon shares have lost 71% of their value this year – 5 things you should know

    New Zealand King Salmon’s Ruakaka farm in the Queen Charlotte Sound. (File photo)

    Investors in New Zealand King Salmon have had a torrid year.

    The salmon farmer’s shares have the unfortunate accolade of being the worst performer on the sharemarket, having lost 71% of their value.

    So what’s behind the slump?

    A really, really bad year

    NZ King Salmon reported a loss of $73 million for the year to the end of January. A lot of its fish died as a result of warmer sea temperatures over summer, so it decided to change its farming practices and cut back on the use of its warmer sites over summer. This is going to reduce its future harvest volumes and cashflows, and because of that it was forced to write down the value of its assets by $59m.

    New share issue

    The fish deaths put NZ King Salmon under some financial pressure – its debt ballooned, and it breached its banking covenants with its lender BNZ. The bank agreed to a temporary waiver so long as NZ King Salmon raised at least $50m of new equity, after any transaction costs. The company sold $60m of shares, about $43m of which went to repay its debt and about $3m on transaction costs, with the rest of the cash going back into the business. The 400 million new shares were sold at a big discount and diluted the value of its existing shares.

    What hope is there?

    NZ King Salmon plans to temporarily fallow some of its warmer farms in the Pelorus Sound which will reduce harvest volumes but give the company a more stable, predictable operation. It’s pinning its hopes on being able to shift its salmon farming operation out into the cooler open ocean, 7km north of Cape Lambert in Cook Strait, a project it calls Blue Endeavour. If that is successful, the three fallowed farms in the Pelorus Sound would be used as nursery sites for nine months of the year, avoiding summer.

    See the full story by Tina Morrison – dated 27 May 2022 on Stuff.co.nz

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