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  • AU: Select Harvest investors jump ship

    Feb 22nd, 2016

    In spite of good almond sales, some big investors in almond producer and processor Select Harvests are jumping ship, as the company’s share price tumbles.

    Documents lodged with the Australian Securities Exchange in the past week show investors such as HSBC Custody Nominees, National Australia Bank and National Australian Custodian Services, have been selling Select Harvests shares since the start of this month at about $5 after accumulating stock in early December last year at more than $8 a share.

    Select Harvests’ share price rocketed from about $5 in June 2014, to more than $13 in June last year. But in the past seven months, the share price has plummeted back to $5.

    Select Harvests managing director Paul Thompson would not comment on the company’s share price but said the business had performed well during the past year.

    Mr Thompson said Select Harvests had forecast a 13,000-tonne crop last harvest at sales of about $10/kg but ended up selling a larger crop of 14,000-tonnes at more than $11/kg.

    In a market update last month, Select Harvests told the ASX the company expected to deliver a half-yearly profit result this year in excess of that of the previous corresponding period.

    Mr Thompson said, although almond prices had fallen 10-15 per cent recently, they were still well above the long-term average.

    He said this year’s harvest was about to begin and the outlook was favourable.

    PAC Partners director Paul Jensz said Select Harvests would produce a strong result when its half-yearly 2016 figures were released next week but the stockmarket was reacting to events in the US market. California, the mainstay of US almond production, was emerging from a long drought, which had driven almond prices to high levels.

    Mr Jensz said almonds prices had peaked at about $14/kg last year but were now priced at about $10/kg. He said, during the global financial crisis, almond prices were about $6 a kg. “The market is assuming it will go down to those lows,” he said.

    Mr Jensz said the market had assumed the US would return to full production one year out from the end of a drought, which isn't possible and he added, “It is very unlikely the US crop will bounce back quickly.”