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Huon Aquaculture is reducing this year’s harvest tonnage from 20,000 tonnes to 19,000 tonnes and expecting operating costs to increase after warmer than expected water and a jellyfish bloom in the first quarter led to gill necrosis. Full year earnings before interest, depreciation, and amortisation are being cut to between $50 million and $55 million, down from February’s guidance of between $64 million and $68 million. The previous year’s operating EBITDA was $71.8 million.

However, Huon believes it can rebuild and deliver guidance for 2019-20 of 25,000 tonnes and 2020-21 harvest of 30,000 tonnes.

“A moon jellyfish bloom in the Huon River and D’Entrecasteaux Channel in November 2018 which initially caused an increase in fish mortalities has since deliver a more serious secondary impact through the development of gill necrosis,” it tells the market this morning.

“While the high mortality rates we reported in January and February have now returned to normal levels, the presence of gill necrosis has meant fish growth rates returning to normal levels has taken longer than initially expected, exacerbated by the slow return to normal water temperatures.”

Huon shares last traded at $4.56, down from $4.70 at the start of last week.


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