The theft of unseeded oysters from a remote, Australian-owned pearl farm in Indonesia is not going to leave gem producer Atlas shellshocked.
The listed pearl company told the ASX on Wednesday a minor security breach had occurred at one of its remote farms in the Indonesian archipelago involving the theft of young oysters.
Atlas managing director Pierre Fallourd said while investigations were ongoing, increased seeding and survival rates meant the incident would have little impact on revenue.
‘Those oysters which are missing were a long way off producing pearls,’ he said.
‘However, the security breach is being taken very seriously, (and) security protocols are being upgraded and investigations are ongoing.’
The Western Australian-based company also hinted at an improved half-year financial result on the back of a 3.3 per cent rise in like-for-like sales and total sales growth of $6.6 million.
The update follows a difficult year for the pearl producer, with the company booking a net loss of $2.54 million in 2018 and a 13 per cent decline in revenue to $14.2 million due to smaller pearl sizes on poor weather conditions earlier in the growth cycle.
Atlas said it had initiated hatchery reforms with the company’s focus to improve survival rates and increase pearl sizes since the 2015-16 weather impacts.
‘It takes four years to produce a pearl, so we are now starting to see the results of the improvements we had made in the past,’ Mr Fallourd told AAP.
‘Like everything in life, there is a lot of trial and error, and not everything goes to plan. All I can say is we’ve really refocused on our core areas of the business, and we’ve rationalised, and at a size that is more relevant to our clients.’
Shares in Atlas Pearls were flat at 1.6 cents at 1430 AEDT, down from 3.8 cents in January 2018 and four cents in January 2017.
The company was trading at 46 cents per share in June 2007.