Bloomberg News

Nutreco May Take EU18 Million Charge; Shares Plunge (Update1)

December 01, 2005

Nutreco Holding NV, the world's largest fish farmer, may take a charge of as much as 18 million euros ($21 million) in 2006 related to cost cuts at its animal nutrition business. The stock posted its biggest drop in more than a year.

Costs related to the creation of its Marine Harvest NV joint venture will also be a higher-than-expected 20 million euros this year, the Amersfoort, Netherlands-based company said today in an e-mailed statement.

The animal feed unit ``is the weakest part and that's supposed to be the new focus of the business,'' said Gerard Rijk, an analyst at ING Financial Markets in Amsterdam, who rates the stock ``buy''.

Nutreco said it plans to sell at least 34 percent of its 75 percent stake in Marine Harvest, less than Rijk expected. The move to give up its majority stake in the fish farming business follows this year's sale of its poultry-processing unit in the Netherlands and Belgium as it seeks to cut exposure to volatile animal prices.

Nutreco shares plunged 2.08 euros, or 5.7 percent, to 34.45 euros, at 11:09 a.m. in Amsterdam, their biggest drop since Oct. 12, 2004. They have risen 3.8 percent since the company announced the timing of the Marine Harvest public offering on Nov. 23.

Marine Harvest was created in April when Nutreco merged its fish-farming activities with those of Stolt-Nielsen SA, a U.K.- based operator of chemical tankers. Stolt-Nielsen owns 25 percent of the venture.

Nutreco forecast that profit will climb 15 percent this year from 77.9 million euros in 2004, bolstered by sales of fish feed. The company's poultry processing unit, Spain's largest, will produce ``slightly over break-even results'' after consumers shunned chicken meat on concerns over avian influenza, today's statement said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Geneva on hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kimberly Kirner in London on kkirner@bloomberg.net


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