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Unlisted abalone farming venture Abagold, which is backed by public shareholders, has ridden out a ravaging red tide in 2017 to the end of June and is now investing heavily in production capacity for the new financial year. Hermanus-based Abagold’s recently released annual report noted the company started the financial year strongly with record growth and sales numbers for the abalone business. But in February a red tide event disrupted operations for what chairman Hennie van der Merwe described as a "harrowing six-week period". The red tide caused Abagold to lose R55m worth of animals, which was 30% of the abalone farm tonnage at that time. Although unlisted, the performance of Abagold provides a point of comparison for JSE-listed fishing counters with abalone farming exposure, most notably consumer brands giant AVI and Premier Fishing & Brands. Neither AVI nor Premier’s operations — located at Danger Point and Gansbaai in the Western Cape, respectively — were affected by the red t...

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