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Oceana Group Net Up 33% on Fish Demand, Pushes Shares to Record

Oceana Group Ltd., the biggest seller of canned fish in South Africa, had a 33 percent jump in full-year earnings as demand outpaced supply and its fishmeal unit returned to profit, raising the company’s shares to a record.

Net income advanced to 443.8 million rand ($51 million) in the year ended Sept. 30, from 333.2 million rand a year earlier, the Cape Town-based company said today in a statement. Revenue jumped 27 percent to 4.6 billion rand. Oceana’s earnings per share of 4.08 rand beat the average forecast of 3.49 rand among three analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“We had exceptionally strong demand for canned fish,” Chief Executive Officer Francois Kuttel said by phone. “We’ve increased supply but couldn’t keep up with demand.”

Fishmeal, relying on industrial catches such as anchovies, turned a 21 million rand profit from a 55 million rand loss as selling prices held steady even with supply gains, he said. “We had the best industrial fish catch in a decade,” Kuttel said from Cape Town. “There were strong landings of anchovies.”

Oceana, with a 65 percent canned-fish market share mainly through its Lucky Star brand, had its catch quota increased by 10,000 metric tons to 120,000 tons in South Africa. It imports fish from Morocco, California and Thailand.

The company advanced as much as 6.7 percent to the highest level since the stock began trading in 1990 and was up 1.7 percent at 61 rand by 4:35 p.m. in Johannesburg.

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