Omega-3 fish oil firm SeaDragon maintains positive outlook despite posting fresh losses

By Cheryl Tay

- Last updated on GMT

Despite major challenges, SeaDragon seems to have retained an optimistic outlook.
Despite major challenges, SeaDragon seems to have retained an optimistic outlook.

Related tags Omega-3 fish oil New zealand Finance

Kiwi omega-3 fish oil supplier SeaDragon recently released its latest annual report, announcing a net loss of NZ$6.1m.

The firm's sales for the year ending 31 March 2018 fell 30% to NZ$3m from NZ$4.3m from the same period a year ago, with sales of its omega-3 products — accounting for 32% of total sales — insufficient to offset the drop in sales caused by the shutdown of its omega-2 business.

The firm experienced less severe losses this year (down from NZ$6.7m in the previous year) and its omega-3 sales doubled from NZ$500,000 in 2017 to NZ$1m in 2018.

Problems securing crude tuna oil, alongside the transition from omega-2 to omega-3, were blamed for the company's losses.

Keeping the faith

Despite these major challenges, SeaDragon seems to have retained an optimistic outlook.

In 2016, the  firm opened a NZ$10m omega-3 refinery​ in Nelson, which it had hoped would generate NZ$50m in annual sales.

An interview ​with sales director Campbell Berry-Kilgour last April revealed that the firm had signed a one-year supply agreement for about 500,000kg to 750,000kg of crude tuna oil from the Indian Ocean, in a bid to begin recouping the NZ$11m investment it had received via a share issue.

This year, in spite of the losses, CEO Nevin Amos said in SeaDragon's annual report: "In the year to 31 March 2018, we sold 153 tonnes of semi-refined tuna oil. Our customers have indicated strong demand for up to 1,000 tonnes of semi-refined tuna oil over the coming year.

"Step by step, we are gradually overcoming the hurdles we have faced. The company is now better positioned for growth, and we are confident that in the current financial year, we will continue to build momentum in our sales and create shareholder value."

Temper with caution

Still, he added that SeaDragon's current orders were "not yet sufficient for the company to cover its costs"​.

"In our 2017 half year report, we said that we would achieve that milestone when we reached sales of 600 to 700 tonnes of fully refined tuna oil, at the then-current market prices, exchange rates and costs, in a single 12-month period.

"Obviously, this threshold is much higher with semi-refined oil."

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