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Clearwater Commits To Creating Shareholder Value


CANADA - Reporting increased sales and strong performace during the third quarter, Clearwater Seafoods has said that it will continue to create value for shareholders through six key initiatives.

The company will focus on:

Growing EBITDA sustainably: Clearwater has demonstrated its ability to consistently grow EBITDA in a sustainable manner over the past three years increasing EBITDA from $34.0 million in fiscal year 2008 to $58.6 million for the twelve months ended October 1, 2011.

Focusing on generating strong free cash flows: Clearwater's management will continue to focus on generating and retaining cash flows over the past three years. They have accomplished this through increasing cash earnings, improving working capital management, selling non-core assets and carefully planning and managing the capital expenditure programme.

Improving leverage and committing to leverage targets: Clearwater has reduced its leverage as a multiple of EBITDA over the past three years from 6.71 as of December 31, 2008 to 4.04 as of October, 2011 and has committed to further reductions to achieve a target of 3.0. Management believes that lower leverage will position the business positively with debt rating agencies and lenders and ultimately allow it to lower its cost of debt.

Improving the capital structure: As of the start of the fourth quarter 2011 management completed the conversion of the public entity from a trust to a corporate structure, making the structure more efficient and transparent for both investors and lenders.

Focused management of foreign exchange: Over the past year Clearwater has implemented a focused and targeted foreign exchange hedging program to reduce the impact of volatility in exchange rates on earnings. This combined with stronger processes for price management has reduced the impact of exchange rate volatility on the business.

Building world class leadership, management, sales and marketing capabilities: Over the past two years the company hired Ian Smith from Campbell's Soup as CEO and Greg Morency from Tate & Lyle as Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. As a result, we have made improvements to our processes around price and margin management, sales forecasting and customer planning.

Communicating the underlying asset values: Clearwater has an industry leading portfolio of quotas that provide strong security of underlying value to lenders and investors. Furthermore, the company has and continues to make focused investments to maintain the value and improve the efficiency of its vessels and plant assets, both of which serve to support strong asset values that more than support the current trading value of the shares.

Third quarter results

With growth continuing in 2011, Clearwater reported growth of 17.5 per cent in third quarter and 25.8 per cent growth in year to date. 2011 EBITDA growth has come as a result of improved sales prices and a shift to higher margin species, partially offset by lower sales volumes, higher harvesting costs per pound and a stronger Canadian dollar.

Clearwater experienced lower volumes in the first three quarters of 2011 due primarily to planned refit work done on its fleet, which reduced time available to harvest. Clearwater experienced lower volumes in the third quarter of 2011 due mostly to the timing of turbot and snow crab sales in 2011.

Ian Smith, Chief Executive Officer, commented: "Management is encouraged by the third quarter and year to date 2011 results and the increasing global consumer and customer demand for our premium, wild, sustainably harvested seafood.

"We will continue to execute with excellence against our overall business strategy as well as key cost-saving and productivity initiatives. Market demand for our products is strong across all major segments and we have every expectation that our earnings momentum will continue through the fourth quarter of 2011 and into 2012."