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Briefcase: Business snippets from around South Australia


In this week’s briefcase we report healthy oyster profits for Angel Seafood, nosediving revenues for Adelaide aerial mapper Aerometrex and the return of a re-imagined King’s Head Hotel.

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Booming oyster sales help Angel spread wings

Eyre Peninsula pacific oyster producer Angel Seafood has reported a $719,000 net profit for the six months to December 31 after shifting its focus from restaurants to retail amid 2020 coronavirus shutdowns.

Angel Seafood’s 74 per cent increase in post-tax profit follows record half-year sales of 5.1 million oysters, up 55 per cent on the first half of the 2020 calendar, generating revenues of $3.8 million.

The Port Lincoln-based company’s profit was also aided by cost reductions of 20 per cent achieved through the company’s increasing scale and productivity gains.

One of the keys to the company’s increased sales volumes in the past 12 months has been a focus on retail channels following a downturn in sales to restaurants during 2020 coronavirus shutdowns.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange last week, Angel Seafood said it would now report its results based on the calendar year rather than the previous June 30 financial year-end to more closely align with its growing and sales cycle

Founder and CEO Zac Halman said the latter half of 2020 was a period of “significant progress and development” for the company.

“This is a fantastic outcome and demonstrates the underlying strength of our business and the continued demand for oysters,” he said.

Halman outlined goals for Angel Seafood’s future, with the company aiming to double its annual production capacity to 20 million oysters a year.

The company raised $4 million in December to help fund its ‘3-pillar growth strategy’, which aims to increase production, increase productivity and improve oyster pricing by positioning the company as a premium brand.

Angel Seafood is on its way to achieving the first pillar after the acquisition of 6.25 hectares of water leases on Eyre Peninsula in November increased its production capacity to 12 million oysters per annum.

Bumper crop boosts Duxton

Publicly listed agribusiness Duxton Broadacre Farms increased its winter crop production more than four-fold last year on the back of a bumper harvest.

The SA company announced to the ASX last week its 2020/21 production reached 60,486 tonnes, up 321 per cent on the 2019/20 harvest of 14,371 tonnes.

Wheat was the biggest improver with more than 9000ha of production returning 39,427 tonnes compared with just 3127 tonnes in 2019/20 when a significant area of wheat was pivoted to hay production.

Barley (12,537 tonnes), Chickpeas (7,326 tonnes) and Faba beans (504 tonnes) also had significant increases.

In a statement to the ASX last week, the Stirling-based business said the quality of the 2020/21 crop had also exceeded expectations with 98 per cent of its NSW wheat production rated above the base grade of ASW1.

The company said it intended to sell the majority of the grain before the end of the financial year but revenues remained dependent on grain prices.

It expects to return to profit this financial on the back of the harvest turnaround and strong livestock prices after reporting a 1.46 million net loss in the 2020 financial year.

Duxton Broadacre Farms announced in December it would sell its Boorala property northeast of Naracoorte for $22 million.

The sale leaves Duxton with three farms in central NSW totalling 19,465 hectares.

Aerometrex profits slide following revenue downturn

Adelaide aerial mapping company Aerometrex has posted a $2.9 million loss for the half-year ended December 31 following a 15 per cent fall in revenue to $8.57 million for the six-month period.

The Glynde-based company reported revenue falls across almost all of its divisions, which include, 3D, LiDAR, aerial photo contracting and its MetroMap on Demand service.

Only its MetroMap subscription service showed significant growth, increasing to $1.5 million in revenue compared with just $182,000 in the first half of the previous financial year.

This included contracts with Suncorp and Geoscape Australia to the digital imagery service worth at least $860,000.

Aerometrex is a 30-year-old company, which listed on the ASX in December 2019 and has a market cap of about $118 million.

The company has also increased its staff numbers, growing to 113 in December 2020 compared with 87 in December 2019.

In a statement to the ASX last week, the company said the revenue declines were mainly due to the smaller nature of the projects undertaken during the period.

King’s Head is back as a pizzeria and cafe

The King’s Head Hotel is back up and running as a pizzeria, pub and café following its closure last year after amassing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of debt.

McGees property director Grant Clarke said the former pub was also undergoing external renovations in collaboration with Heritage SA.

Owned by a private investment consortium for the past 20 years, the venue was leased by publican Gareth Lewis from 2008 until April 2020.

It’s since been leased by cyclist Patrick Marcucci and his family, who’ve renovated the interior with a new bar, tiled floor entrance and repainted walls and have brought live music back to the hotel on Friday and Saturday nights.

Events manager Virginia Phillips said the pizzeria – called Regina’s – was a tribute to the “conviviality of Italian lifestyle” inspired from the family’s regular European holidays, which were not possible under current coronavirus restrictions.

“Prior to opening the pub/pizzeria/café, Patrick was operating Mondo Cycling tours for groups of cyclists wanting to ride in Italy and France,” Phillips said.

“Regrettably due to COVID restrictions last year we had to cancel our overseas cycling trips to Europe.

“Gleaned from our regular trips to Europe, we wanted to create a warm, inviting space to gather in an Adelaide pub and pizzeria.  Our love of a traditional wood oven pizza with fresh, quality ingredients and a desire to replicate the good eating we experienced in Italy prompted us to open the pizzeria.”

Food and beverage trade show is back in business

South Australian food and beverage producers and their customers will switch back to face-to-face networking when the state’s only dedicated trade show for the industry kicks off at Adelaide Showground this week.

Almost 80 exhibitors have signed up for the Food-Beverage-Technology Trade Show, which will put food and beverage products and the latest in industry technology under the spotlight.

The March 2-3 show will be held in the showgrounds’ Goyder Pavilion and is jointly hosted by Food South Australia and GaP Solutions.

“Exhibition spaces sold out quickly and buyers from across retail, food service, convenience channel, and government procurement are keen to catch up with new products and brands,” Food South Australia CEO Catherine Sayer said.

“After the disruption of the last year, we’ve been stepping up our support to industry to foster relationships for the food and beverage industry and we’re focused on providing practical assistance to get producers and buyers together through virtual means when physical meetings aren’t possible.

Entry is free but visitors are encouraged to register beforehand to avoid potential delays.

Stroke SA joins The Hospital Research Foundation

In the latest in a string of mergers for The Hospital Research Foundation Group, Stroke SA has merged with the organisation, effective from March 1.

It’s the 11th recent merger for the group, with Laurel Palliative Care Foundation and Parkinson’s SA & NT also having joined the organisation last year.

Stroke SA Chair Anne Hamilton-Bruce, who remains Chair of the Stroke SA Board of Governors, said the merger would help improve “vital support services locally as well as in regional SA”.

“We are grateful to have ongoing security in joining an organisation that is committed to making a difference to the lives of South Australians, as well as access to the focused skills of THRF Group,” she said.

Group CEO Paul Flynn said the latest merger would “improve the provision of support and wellbeing services and increase vital research” for the more than 5000 South Australians who experienced a stroke each year.

“We have a long history in supporting research into stroke and are thrilled to enter into a merger that will further support this community with stronger services (such as occupational therapy and exercise physiology), research and impact,” he said in a statement.

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