Salmon Farmer Multiexport Drops in Chile on Virus Return

Multiexport Foods SA fell for a third day as the company confirmed the presence in one of its fisheries of the same virus that decimated Chile’s salmon industry four years ago.

Multiexport, Chile’s third-biggest salmon farmer by market value, retreated 4.8 percent to 109.68 pesos at the close of trading in Santiago. The stock has retreated 21 percent since April 8, its biggest three-day loss since August 2011.

The company discovered the presence of the infectious salmon anemia virus, also known as ISA, in a single cage at one of its fisheries in southern Chile’s Aysen region, according to a filing sent to the country’s securities regulator yesterday. Multiexport said it will harvest all of the fish in that cage to contain the virus.

Chilean salmon farms suffered in 2008 an outbreak of ISA, which forced farmers to prematurely harvest salmon and decimated the industry’s stocks. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, stopped buying salmon from Chile in 2009. Since then, Chilean fishing regulators have imposed measures to improve sanitary conditions for salmon farmers.

“This situation will be an important test for the regulatory changes after the previous crisis,” Andres Galarce, an analyst at EuroAmerica Corredores de Bolsa SA, said in a phone interview. “The market is waiting for indications if this is spreading or contained.”

Multiexport said that the cage where the virus was found represents 0.12 percent of the fish in its farms. Sernapesca, Chile’s fishing regulator, declared a sanitary emergency yesterday in the Aysen region after discovering ISA in a farm operated by a unit of Agrosuper SA.

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