Swimming With The Salmon

Seafood lovers or not, some investment pros have been bagging shares of Marine Harvest International, particularly after they fell to 6 1/2 from 12 last October. Marine Harvest is a world leader in aquaculture--the breeding, farming and harvesting of seafood. "Harvest is a way to participate in the young and rapidly growing aquaculture industry," says H. Lloyd Kanev, an analyst at Smith Barney Shearson, who has upgraded his rating on the stock to a buy.

The stock's current price, says Kanev, reflects little, if any, of the potential growth of the aquaculture industry. Marine's farming of Atlantic salmon is located in Scotland and Chile; the shrimp operations are based in Ecuador. In 1993, Marine shipped some 15,500 metric tons of salmon, or 5.7% of the world's salmon supply. Its major markets: Japan, the U.S., and Europe. Kanev cautions that because of the difficulty in accurately forecasting salmon prices, his estimate of 40 a share in 1994 and 75 in 1995 could be off the mark a bit, but the trend is definitely up. Worldwide consumption of farmed salmon is growing at 35% a year, and demand for Western White shrimp is increasing at a 24% annual rate.

Hanson PLC owns a 27% stake, and Hanson Vice-Chairman David Clarke holds 8.4%. Management owns 14%.

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