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Omega reports decreased earnings

MOSS POINT — Omega Protein Corporation reported net income of $1 million ($0.05 per share) for the first quarter of 2010, compared with net income of $2.1 million ($0.11 per share) for the first quarter of the previous year.

Revenues for the first quarter ended March 31 were $32.3 million, compared with revenues of $30.2 million for the comparable quarter in 2009.  Omega Protein recorded operating income of $2.3 million for the first quarter of 2010, versus operating income of $4.3 million for the first quarter of 2009.

The company said its results, in comparison to the first quarter of 2009, primarily reflect increased fish meal sales pricing of 18 percent offset by decreased fish oil sales pricing of 41 percent. The increased fish meal sales pricing coincide with limited global availability of fish meal, which is expected to continue at least into the second half of 2010.  As a result, pricing trends for fish meal for the remainder of 2010 are expected to trend upward. The decreased fish oil sales pricing was the result of contracts entered into during 2008, the peak of the fish oil sales market, which were carried over into the first quarter of 2009.

Additionally, during the quarter ended March 31, 2009, Omega received a hurricane assistance grant of $2.7 million from the State of Mississippi, net of fees, related to the impact of Hurricane Katrina. Excluding this grant from the results of operations, reported net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2009 would have been approximately $0.5 million ($0.02 a share).

Omega has been impacted by the Gulf oil spill. Last week, the company implemented an Incident Response Plan. This plan is intended to minimize vessel downtime and business interruptions.

The company announced it would relocate its nine Moss Point fishing vessels and three carry vessels to fishing grounds on the west side of the Mississippi River Delta. This relocation was expected to last up to four weeks, but may change depending on future developments.

The docking and re-supply areas for the Moss Point fleet will be relocated from Moss Point to the company-owned facility at Morgan City, La. The company’s Abbeville, La., facility also will be available to provide support as needed.

The company will offload fish from its Moss Point fleet with its carry vessels and process those fish in its usual manner at its Moss Point facility. If access to the Moss Point facility should become restricted, then the company’s carry vessels will offload fish at the company’s Abbeville and Cameron, La., locations, which are unaffected by the oil spill. The company said it could not forecast the affect this response plan or oil spill would have on its fish catch or processing efficiency.


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