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Bluefin tuna eggs. (Photo: Fernando de la Gandara/IEO)

Clean Seas still facing uphill battle

Click on the flag for more information about Australia AUSTRALIA
Friday, December 21, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)

Clean Seas Tuna has informed that the volume and quantity of its fertilised southern bluefin tuna (SBT) eggs have fallen short this season despite the timely spawnings in October. As a result, Clean Seas expects it will be unable to transfer fingerlings to sea cages for experimental grow-out early enough for the juveniles to survive through the winter.

Therefore, the company informed that given its limited financial resources and the need to preserve liquidity, it anticipates the suspension of its Tuna Propagation Programme for at least the 2013-14 summer. Clean Seas will instead channel its funds to its yellowtail kingfish operations.

However, because the firm understands the importance of successfully closing the SBT lifecycle in terms of commercialisation potential, and that additional funds are needed for this scheme, the directors said they believe it a good idea to “write down the significant investment in this project as at 31 December 2012 to an estimated net realisable value, in case the funding is not available in the future to re‐activate this programme.”

The net impact on Clean Seas’ 1H 2013 results could be some AUD 30 million (USD 31.4 million), the company told.

The company and its advisors have been unable to secure a strategic partner wanting to make a significant investment in Clean Seas, and the firm blames this on the general fiscal situation which creates an unfavourable investment climate, the previous requirement for the ongoing funding of the SBT propagation programme and the significant losses caused by excess yellowtail kingfish mortalities. As the latter has been worked out, the firm now intends to either continue with a further scaled-down yellowtail kingfish division or in joint venture with a domestic partner.    

“With the kingfish growth season now commencing in earnest, cash limitations will necessitate either kingfish volumes being further reduced or the company will need to be successful in securing a domestic Yellowtail kingfish joint venture partner,'' Clean Seas said in a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, The Australian reports. 

The contract with Clean Seas’ external financial advisors concludes on 31 December, after which the Board and management will negotiate with a shortlist of potential domestic aquaculture partners. The company also said it was also considering a share purchase plan to refill its AUD 3.6 million (USD 3.8 million) cash balance.

Related article:

- Clean Seas Tuna lays off half of staff 

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com


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