Food giant cites poor wild-salmon harvest

William Stoichevski

Vancouver-based Premium Brands Holdings Corp., a major producer and distributor of specialty brands and sandwiches, has posted record-high third-quarter revenue of C$557.6 million, or up 16 percent over last year despite big plans for wild salmon fizzling.

The company’s quarterly EBITDA was a record C$49.4 million and up 12.5 percent over the same period a year ago. Historically high earnings reached C$23.3 million, or good for $0.78 per share.

The cash-rich company owns 15 distributors and 28 brands and intends to use its C$135.5 million wallet on still more household names and protein suppliers. It counts its salmon holdings in its “premium distribution” grouping, a largely B.C.-based list that includes Diana’s Seafood, Ocean Miracle Seafood, Maximum Seafood and Premium Seafood. Diana’s alone owns two smoked salmon varieties, chinook and steelhead, the latter a Great Lakes species.

“So far this year we have invested $46.3 million in new businesses and expect to announce several more transactions before the end of the year,” company president and CEO, George Paleologou, was quoted as saying. He said letters of intent were already signed that would make 2018 “another very busy year for acquisitions”.

Of note, Paleologou cited “exceptionally poor sockeye and pink salmon fisheries on the west coast of British Columbia” and “lower wholesale seafood sales” blamed on hurricane-related supply disruptions U.S. Eastern Seaboard.

Salmonbusiness called Mrl Paleologou to ask if he intended to make up the shortfall in salmon with farmed varieties. We’ll update this story with his response when or if it comes.

Meanwhile, Premium brands is expanding its western Canada foodservice distribution into niche retail and restaurant chains in an effort to capture more market share in the Toronto area, where 6.4 million eat.