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Chile’s Multiexport Heads to 17-Month Low on Fish Virus Concern

Multiexport Foods SA, the only salmon farmer on Chile’s benchmark Ipsa index, headed for a 17-month low on concern a virus may affect production.

Multiexport retreated 4.9 percent to 115.09 pesos at 4:30 p.m. Santiago time, the lowest price on a closing basis since May 2010. The Ipsa rose 1.9 percent.

Diario Financiero reported that regulators detected traces of “heart and skeletal muscle inflammation,” or HSMI, a virus among local salmon farmers.

“Multiexport is always the first local salmon stock that falls on these occasions because it’s much more liquid than other farmers,” Andres Galarce, an analyst at Santiago-based brokerage firm Euroamerica Corredores de Bolsa SA, said in a phone interview. “The report isn’t entirely news. Traces of the virus had been detected earlier this year, and it isn’t such a concern for the industry due to its low mortality rates.”

Chile’s fishing regulator Sernapesca has intensified preventive measures after it found new traces of HSMI virus on fish, Diario Financiero reported. None of the fish presented symptoms of the underlying disease, the newspaper wrote, citing Sernapesca director Juan Luis Ansoleaga.

Andres Lyon, Multiexport’s chief executive officer, was not immediately available to comment, an official at the company’s press office said by phone. Armando Castro, head of communications at Sernapesca, was not available to comment, an assistant said by phone.

Empresas AquaChile SA, Chile’s largest salmon farmer, rose 2.6 percent to 287.2 pesos, while Australis Seafoods SA was little changed at 135.06 pesos. Cia. Pesquera Camanchaca SA retreated 1.9 percent to 50 pesos and Invertec Pesquera Mar de Chiloe SA dropped 0.2 percent to 139 pesos.

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