Seafood chief upbeat after profits and sales rise –

Seafood chief upbeat after profits and sales rise Published:  12 August, 2011

THE head of one of North America’s leading seafood companies has spoken of his optimism about future growth prospects, predicting that the steep rise in raw material prices appeared to be stabilising.

Henry Demone, chief executive of Canada’s High Liner Foods, was in upbeat mood after his company reported a 14 per cent increase in sales to Canadian $153.3 million for the second quarter which ended on July 2nd. Profits were up by eight per cent to Canadian $4.8 million. High Liner is widely thought  to be one of the businesses in the frame for Icelandic USA, which its parent, the Icelandic Group of Reykjavik has put up for sale. In January it made an audacious 340-million euro bid for the entire group which was rejected. Mr Demone said: “The strength from prior periods has continued into the second quarter of 2011, and we remain optimistic about our growth prospects for the remainder of the year. The organic growth experienced from the launch of new product lines is very encouraging, as these products have resonated well with consumers and the market; specifically, the success of our FireRoasters product in the US market is a testament to our experience in product innovation.  “We will look to maintain our emphasis on advertising, with the purpose of raising brand awareness, as this programme has had positive results on sales of our branded products.  Higher raw material costs, which prevailed in early 2011, appear to have reached a plateau and we do not expect further price increases on an aggregate basis for the balance of 2011.” He added: “While we are encouraged by the year-over-year improvement in sales in our Canadian operations, we continue to review initiatives to improve the trend in the Canadian retail market.  In the US, the Viking acquisition has been fully integrated into our business, and we are pleased that the addition is meeting our high expectations.  Overall, the improvement in the US and Canadian economies has provided support to our business and the outlook for 2011 appears positive.” Although he made no direct reference to Icelandic USA, which is based in Newport News, Virginia, he did conclude: “We remain focused on expanding our growth in sales while continuing to identify and implement cost-reduction initiatives to produce continued strong future results.”