Colin MacDonald, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Clearwater, stated: "Our shareholders have been rewarded for investing in Clearwater over the past few years through significant appreciation in the value of their shares and the Board of Directors is delighted to supplement that substantial return and express our confidence in Clearwater's future by announcing a quarterly cash dividend."
Mr MacDonald continued: "Central to the Board of Directors' decision to announce a dividend was our confidence in the future and our belief that it could be set at a level that is not only sustainable but that provides some opportunity for growth."
Mr MacDonald concluded: "In making the determination of dividend levels, the Board gave consideration to a number of key principles including the expected future earnings and the amount of free cash flows that should be retained to reinvest in the business, the assurance that all obligations can be met with respect to existing loan agreements and the desire to provide room for the dividend to increase in the future as the business continues to grow and expand. The Board will review these same factors on a periodic basis, and at least annually, when reviewing opportunites to adjust or increase the dividend."
Global demand for seafood is outstripping supply, creating favorable market dynamics for vertically integrated producers such as Clearwater that have strong resource access.
Demand has been driven by growing worldwide population, shifting consumer tastes towards healthier diets, and rising purchasing power of middle class consumers in emerging economies.
The supply of wild seafood is limited and is expected to continue to lag behind the growing global demand. This supply-demand imbalance has created a market place in which purchasers of seafood are increasingly willing to pay a premium to suppliers that can provide consistent quality and food safety, wide diversity and reliable delivery of premium, wild, sustainably harvested seafood.
Clearwater, like other vertically integrated seafood companies, is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity because of its licenses, premium product quality, diversity of species, global sales footprint, and year-round harvest and delivery capability.
Ian Smith, Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Strong market demand has contributed to improvements in revenue and free cash flow, and as we continue to invest in our business and increase our access to supply, we expect to be able to continue to grow the business in 2014."