An increase in the pearl harvest is expected in 2008 according to Pearl farmer Atlas South Sea Pearl Ltd. Atlas is expecting a net profit from pearls of almost five and a half million US dollars for the end of the financial year 2007.
This Western Australia-based company specializes in producing white, silver and gold South Sea pearls and harvested 185,600 pearls in 2007, somewhat less than the 234,200 in 2006.
Atlas said although the quantity of pearls harvested declined in 2007, the average pearl size was larger and it expects to harvest more than 200,000 pearls in 2008.
The company stated also that pearl quality has been enhanced over the past few years.
“The ongoing genetics research that is being undertaken with James Cook University (in Townsville) is already having a positive impact on the company’s farming practices,” it was stated.
“Breeding has commenced with selected oyster families with strong growth traits.”
Through its Indonesian subsidiary, PT Cendana Indopearls, Atlas operates pearl farms across the Indonesian archipelago, including Bali, Lombok and West Papua and in 2008, a new pearling venture in Sabah, Malaysia, will begin, which the company states will allow it to expand its jewellery manufacturing capabilities.
“Malaysia is likely to provide better opportunities for expanding Atlas’s pearl jewellery manufacturing capabilities.” It said. “It has a strong jewellery industry and a well-educated and trained workforce.”
Atlas said planning was underway for it to expand this part of the business.
“Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand and other South-East Asian countries are attractive in terms of expanding the jewellery brand through retail outlets, either owned or licensed.”
In 2007, Atlas paid a fully franked dividend of 4 cents per share and Atlas shares closed up 2.5 cents to 41 cents recently.