Clearwater sees earnings dip, as premium paid for “food safety”

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Canadian seafood giant, Clearwater Seafood, has posted a first-quarter adjusted EBITDA of CAD 19.1 million, or down slightly after a CAD 8 million drop in sales year-on-year, a figure that ended at CAD 120.1 million.

Clearwater, which sells unspecified volumes of smoked salmon online for CAD 56.95 a kilogram, said it has had to diversify its supplier base in favour of those who can deliver regularly. The company seemed to suggest paying a premium to wild-catch operators had cut into earnings.

In their summary of seafood markets, management said healthier consumer tastes; growing worldwide populations and a rising global middle class was still driving seafood demand. Wild-catch species — and Clearwater has traditionally been a wild-catch and harvested shellfish distributor — are under pressure, the company said, and it’s affecting buyers as well as wild-fish populations.

“The supply of wild seafood is limited and is expected to continue to lag behind the growing global demand.

“This supply-demand imbalance has created a marketplace in which purchasers of seafood are increasingly willing to pay a premium to suppliers that can provide consistent quality and food safety,” the company said.