Omega Protein Corporation, the leading producer of Omega-3 fish oil and specialty fish meal products in the US, has reported net profits of $3.9 million (€4.5m) for 2001, a welcome return to the black after losses of $16.7 million the previous year.
Sales reached $98.8 million in 2001, up from $84.0 million a year earlier, while operating profits were $5.7 million compared to losses of $25.5 million in 2000.
The improvement was mainly as a result of stronger world prices for the company's products due to diminished global fishmeal and fish oil inventories. The previous two years saw a very depressed pricing environment for fishmeal and fish oil due to record US overproduction of soybeans and global surpluses of soy and other proteins and edible oils, the company said. Fishmeal and fish oil prices began to strengthen in early 2001 and then stabilised at an improved level for the balance of the year.
A 55 per cent improvement in fish oil yield per ton as compared with 2000 also helped improve the company's performance in 2001. In 2000, Omega Protein experienced unusually low fish oil yields due to drought-related conditions in the Gulf of Mexico.
Omega Protein's 2001 results also include a $66,000 increase in net income for the quarters ended 30 June and 30 September which reflect the accounting re-characterisation of a charge for abnormal costs associated with the grounding of the company's fleet of spotter aircraft following the 11 September terrorist attacks, and the treatment of an insurance receivable.