Lucky Star owner finally releases results following forensic investigations

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Oceana released its results on Wednesday after a long delay.
Oceana released its results on Wednesday after a long delay.
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  • Oceana has finally released its annual results after a five-month delay.
  • The company had postponed the publication of the results following concerns by a whistle-blower regarding the accounting treatment of US-based Westbank Fishing.
  • Oceana will release its interim results by 2 June.

Fishing group Oceana has finally released its annual results for the year ended 30 September 2021 after a delay of almost five months. 

Oceana had postponed the publication of the results following concerns by a whistle-blower regarding the accounting treatment of US-based Westbank Fishing. The company instituted a forensic investigation, which was conducted by ENSafrica.

Last month, Oceana’s auditor PwC raised yet another concern, this time regarding the dating of signatures on an internal document for a $4 million (~R60.5 million) insurance claim, leading to another delay.

"ENS Forensics performed a comprehensive review and was able to confirm no further impact to the consolidated financial statements as a result of the backdating of any insurance claims. However, the investigation did identify other instances of backdating, although none of those instances impacted the annual financial statements," said Oceana in its results on Wednesday. 

The group said it views the document backdating in "serious light" and will undertake disciplinary action and training to address the issue.

Oceana added that the investigations concluded that none of the issues that were investigated resulted in financial loss and there was no evidence of fraud or criminal conduct.

READ | Nothing fishy: Lucky Star owner's shares jump after clarification on CEO, CFO

According to its results, the Lucky Star owner owner’s group revenue plunged by 8.1% to R7.6 billion, from 8.3 billion in 2020. Oceana attributed the drop to lower sales for canned fish, fishmeal and fish oils, as well as lower commercial storage occupancy levels and a stronger export exchange rate on revenue translated to the US dollar.

Profit before tax fell to R1 billion from R1.1 billion in 2020 and headline earnings per share declined from 628.4 cents in 2020, to 550 cents.

The company declared a final dividend of 248 cents per share.

Oceana has also been the subject of an investigation by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), on whether "any person may have published false, misleading or deceptive statements, promises and forecasts regarding the past or future performance of the Company, or its securities".

The group said it is waiting for conclusion of the investigation and is cooperating with the FSCA.

The fishing group has also seen major changes to its executive team in past few weeks, with the precautionary suspension of its CFO Hajra Karrim, CEO Imraan Soomra’s resignation and company secretary Adela Fortune’s resignation.

The group is almost at the end of its half-year, which is at on 31 March. It’s results included a trading update, stating that it expects its earnings to be 20% lower than in the 2021 interim period.

Oceana will release its interim results by 2 June.

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