…Onshore horse mackerel processing factory on the cards
• Records N$39m profit in 2015
• Esau hails performance
After a stormy phase, which saw the company recording losses close to N$1.5 million in 2014 and temporarily halting operations, Fishcor has seemingly turned the tide after recording profits of N$39 million in 2015.The performance figures were announced at the company’s annual general meeting held in Luderitz last week, where the company also handed over N$5 million to the Governors Trust, much to the delight of the regional political heads who were also in attendance.Financials of the company that were presented to the shareholders last week, show that between 2007 and 2014 the company made losses close to N$60 million. The worst period was between 2011 and 2013 when losses amounting to more than N$45 million were recorded.While presenting the financials, Fishcor chairman James Hatuikulipi indicated that the company’s asset value more than doubled after increasing from N$157 million in 2014 to N$357 million in 2015.
He noted that despite the legacy challenges, the financial position of the company continues to improve.“We reopened our processing factory after closure of three months, invested heavily in our vessels and factory infrastructure, focused on processing our own quota to gain maximum value per metric ton and added additional 100 job opportunities,” said Hatuikulipi.The improved performance comes less than three years after Fishcor shut down its operations throughout the 2013/14 fishing season when one of its two subsidiaries, Seaflower Whitefish Corporations suffered a series of vessel breakdowns that forced operations to grind to a halt between June and September 2013 and again between April and June 2014.
Government had to step in and increase the company’s fishing quota to boost its performance.“As an intervention, I appointed a new board of directors. The primary objective of the new leadership team was to ensure the resumption of operations and devise a turnaround strategy for the group, said fisheries minister Bernhard Esau. Esau said, “I am informed that through these challenges, the board of directors and management has been committed to turning around the fortunes of the group in order to enable it to meet its financial obligations and deliver on the company’s mandate. “As a result of all these interventions, the financial position of the group has improved tremendously with revenue increasing from N$86 million in 2014 financial year to N$357 million as at 30 September 2015 – which translated into a net profit of approximately N$39 million from a net loss of N$1.5 million in 2014.
I am also informed that the operations continue to improve in the current financial year with sales revenue growth of 28 percent compared to the same period last year.” He also announced that Fishcor has concluded a co-operation agreement with the fisheries ministry to establish an onshore horse mackerel processing factory.“This investment is expected create approximately 300 new jobs and it will lead to innovation in product development in the sector and increase its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product. In light of this development, a consultant has been appointed and is currently busy conducting the feasibility study to be concluded before the end of this year,” Esau revealed.
He also indicated that he has since concluded governance and performance agreements with the board of directors, as required by the Public Enterprises Governance Amendment Act of 2015.The group, with the help of a consultant, is currently in the process of developing a five-year strategic plan. “The strategic plan will outline the key areas of focus and investment to meet the objectives of the group. I must commend the team for these recent developments,” said Esau.The minister hailed the Fishcor group “for the commitment they have displayed in ensuring that the operations are continuously being managed to lead the group on the path of sustainable profitability and to secure employment and the livelihood of our people”.
Poor corporate governance, job insecurity, lack of operational capital and poor management were some of the factors that hampered the company’s operations in the past. So dire was the situation, that government in 2014 allocated a 10 000 metric ton horse mackerel quota to Fishcor to revive its operations. The company, at the time, faced fleet problems, which adversely affected the production of the company so much that the company had to halt operations and send its workers home on full pay.
Last year, while commissioning trawlers procured by Fishcor, Esau said: “I do not regret allocating the bail-out quota, this is a state company and it must be supported. As you can see, the company is back on track and the people are happy, those that are unhappy are the ones that monopolised the industry for years. The situation was so dire that a new board and acting CEO had to be appointed to salvage the company to ensure that the factory re-opens and the operations get back to normal.”