Clearwater Seafoods helps Premium Brands to a record-breaking quarter and year


Today was a good day for anyone who holds shares in Clearwater Seafoods through Premium Brand Holdings Inc.

They’ll be paid dividends of 77 cents a share this month, thanks to record-breaking revenues and earnings in 2022.

Clearwater’s red-hot sales helped Premium to a record-breaking quarter, according to the company’s fourth-quarter report released on Friday.

“Clearwater had an excellent quarter and delivered record EBITDA for the year of about $130 million on sales of about $600 million,” said George Paleologou, chief executive for Premium, in a Friday morning conference call.

Premium Brands, based in Vancouver and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, owns a range of food manufacturing and food distribution businesses from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, and in six American states.

Clearwater became part of the Premium group in 2021 after it was bought by the company and a coalition of seven First Nations from Atlantic Canada.

At the time Clearwater held quotas for 48 million kilograms of surf clams, 3.9 million kilograms of offshore shrimp, 2.7 million kilograms of groundfish, 2.8 million kilograms of scallops, 720,000 kilograms of lobster and 270,000 kilograms of Jonah crab. It also has a fleet of 21 vessels, including an offshore lobster harvesting boat, and operates processing facilities in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Scotland.

“Clearwater’s earnings before payments to shareholders for the fourth quarter and 2022 increased by $13.6 million and $4.9 million, respectively, primarily due to strong prices for Clearwater’s core species and higher sales volumes,” the company said in a news release.

In 2022, Atlantic lobster prices hit record highs, fetching up to $18 per pound.

Overall, Premium’s revenues and earnings were up 21.5 and 20 per cent, respectively. The company had revenue of $1.63 billion for the quarter, and earnings of $136.4 million.

Overall, the 2022 fiscal year was good, with sales of $6 billion, while earnings increased 17 per cent at $73.5 million.

For 2023, however, Premium is being a little more conservative.

The company is projecting sales of between $6.4 to $6.6 billion and earnings of around $590 million to $610 million.

They’re basing that projection on stable economic environments in Canada and the U.S. with inflation rates in both countries continuing to moderate, stable raw material costs and modest appreciation in the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar.

“We’ve been shell shocked with ‘Black Swan’ events of the past three years, all happening all at once, so we’re tending to be conservative with our assumptions,” said chief financial officer Will Kalytycz.

Paleologou added, “We continue to see evidence that life in the world is normalizing after three years of volatility and economic and industry dislocations.”

He also revealed Premium’s long-term goal is to reach $10 billion in sales and $1 billion in earnings by the end of 2027.

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