15 August 2009

Chile's Multiexport Foods Says First-Half Loss Widens on Salmon Virus

By Nathan Gill
Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Multiexport Foods SA, Chile’s biggest publicly-traded salmon producer, said its first-half net loss widened on higher costs and lower sales related to a virus that has depleted fish stocks.

The loss widened to $48.7 million from a $11.4 million loss in the year-earlier period, according to data posted last night on the Web site of Chile’s securities regulator. Revenue fell 8.2 percent to $89.7 million from $97.7 million.

Separately, the Puerto Montt, Chile-based company called for a shareholders meeting on Sept. 7 to report on debt refinancing and debt levels that have exceeded approved amounts, according to a second statement posted on the regulator’s Web site.

Salmon farmers in Chile are refinancing debt as a fish-sickening virus cuts their production. An outbreak of the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus has swept through farms off southern Chile’s Chiloe Island, forcing early harvests and emptying fish cages.

On July 28, Multiexport Foods said it had reached an agreement with Banco de Chile and the local unit of Rabobank Nederland to reschedule short- and long-term debt.