NZX-listed fishing firm Sanford says its attendance at a major Chinese trade show hooked the company a number of new customers, which it will be supplying with millions of dollars worth of seafood.
Managing director Eric Barratt said the company had taken on five new customers at the China Fisheries and Seafood Expo, in the northeastern coastal city of Dalian, last month.
"We probably wrote about $5 million worth of business at the show and we would expect that to convert, on an annual basis, to around $10 to $12 million," Barratt said. "We expect to continue to do business with the people we met on a regular basis."
He said the new customers would not result in much additional revenue for Sanford, as the company would not be catching any more fish.
But they would provide higher margins than the markets in other parts of Asia the fish would otherwise have gone to.
"We've found a better market - an improved market."
Barratt said the controversial toothfish - caught in Antarctica's Ross Sea and considered by some environmentalists to be an unsustainable catch - as well as squid, barracuda and greenshell mussels would be sold to the new customers.
"We've made a major sale of toothfish into China."
Barratt said Sanford would gain some additional revenue through its sales of greenshell mussels to the new customers as the company was increasing its production of the farmed shellfish species.
The company expects its sales to China to increase from 8.5 per cent of total exports to around 25 per cent by 2020.
A report by Rabobank last month said rising incomes in the world's second largest economy were driving increased demand for premium seafood, both domestically sourced and imported.
Sanford posted a full-year net profit of $20.8 million last month, a 7 per cent drop on the previous year.
Shares closed at $4.34 on Friday.By Christopher Adams Email Christopher