'Worst year ever,' says Nireus fish farm chairman of 2013

One of the world’s biggest farmers of bass and bream farmer, Greek listed company Nireus experienced the "worst year in its history" in 2013, chairman Aristides Belles told industry website Undercurrent News on Tuesday, though he added that the outlook is positive for 2014.

The Athens-listed company posted net losses of 75.5 million euros in 2013, according to the report, compared with losses of 13.9 million euros a year earlier, mostly driven by an average decline in sale prices of 7.2 percent, which brought losses of 30 million euros. Of this, the report noted, 10 million euros corresponded to lower sales value and 20 million euros to a lower valuation of the biomass.

Further losses can be attributed to one-off events, the chairman of Nireus said, adding that these included 3 million euros from higher average raw material prices for feed, and 11.3 million euros from one-off provisions. Another 24 million euros were lost in earnings because of a lower growth of fish in the second half of 2013 — due to higher mortality and changes in feed and sea temperatures, Undercurrent News reported.

Sales in 2013 decreased by 6.1 million euros from the previous year despite volumes increasing by 1,300 metric tons to 32,900 metric tons from 31,600 metric tons in 2012.

Nireus operates 42 fish farms in Greece, Turkey and Spain.

“2013 was the worst year in the history of Nireus group,” Belles told Undercurrent News. ”The unprecedented lack of liquidity, as well as the continuing climate of uncertainty, dragged the prices to very low levels, whereas we also faced the large increase in the prices of raw materials with collateral effects.”

However, Belles said Nireus is optimistic about its performance in 2014 and is in talks with its creditors for a restructuring of its debt.

Management “already notes that for 2014 there is a much improved outlook for recovery and for improvement of the economic and business conditions”, Belles told Undercurrent News. “This, in tandem with the on-going actions for cost reduction and productivity improvement, will lead to the expected recovery.”

The company’s equity also remains in the black — unlike that of rivals Selonda and Dias — and cash flow was positive, the report said.