Oceana warns headline earnings per share may fall up to 29%

Fishing company Oceana Group, which produces Lucky Star pilchards, says it expects a steep drop in headline earnings per share when it releases its financial results for the year ended 30 September.

Oceana is the largest fishing company in Africa, with interests in the Namibian, Angolan and US fishing industries. 

In a trading statement on Tuesday, Oceana said basic headline earnings per share for the year were expected to decrease between 25% and 29%, to between 545.3 cents per share and 516.2 cents per share, compared to the comparative period.

The firm is expecting to release its results in mid-November.

It said, nonetheless, that overall financial performance had been "mainly positive". This was due to solid performance of the canned fish business, driven by good volume growth supplemented by production efficiencies in local canneries which offset US dollar-based procurement costs, it said. 

According to the statement, in the previous financial year the group benefited from a reduced tax charge due to the once-off deferred tax adjustment following a reduction in the federal corporate tax rate in the US, from 35% to 21%. This positively impacted the year to end September 30 2018's earnings per share and headline earnings per share. 

Oceana added that "marginally improved" fishmeal and oil pricing had also helped, as well as a reduction in the group's interest charge due to debt repayments and "good working capital utilisation". 

There was, however, a once-off negative impact from strategic rationalisation of underperforming Angolan businesses, Oceana said.

According to the statement, earnings per share for the year are expected to decrease between 27% and 31% to between 536.2 cents per share and 506.9 cents per share. Diluted earnings per share for the year are expected to decrease between 27% and 31% to between 492.5 cents per share and 465.5 cents per share, compared to the previous year.

*Correction: This article has been updated to clarify that group benefited from the reduced tax charge due to the deferred US tax adjustment in the year to end September 2018 and not the year to end 2019. 

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