May 18, 2017 / 5:56 AM / 10 months ago

CORRECTED-Top tuna firm Thai Union says Q2 sales to improve from Q1

(Corrects paragraph 6 to show that 4.8 billion baht is total capital expenditure this year, not only investment in German plant)

BANGKOK, May 18 (Reuters) - Thai Union Pcl, the world’s largest producer of canned tuna, said on Thursday it expected second-quarter sales to be higher than the first quarter due to seasonal factors in fisheries.

Supply is usually higher in the current quarter, which is expected to lower costs and boost sales, although tuna prices are still volatile due to weather patterns and campaigns promoting sustainable fisheries, Bunlung Waiyanont, investor relations manager, told reporters, without elaborating.

Thai Union had sales of 31.4 billion baht ($910.7 million)in the first quarter, when net profit jumped 19 percent to 1.47 billion baht.

The profit was helped by its investment in U.S. seafood chain Red Lobster, foreign exchange gains and lower tax expenses, the firm said.

The company is still aiming for sales of between 145 billion baht and 150 billion baht this year, Bunlung said.

It plans to invest 4.8 billion baht this year in a fish oil plant in Germany and also in expanding existing factories, he said, adding that the fish oil plant would be operational later this year.

The firm has said it would not focus on mergers and acquisitions this year.

Last year, the company bought a minority stake in Red Lobster Seafood Restaurants in a $575 million deal to expand in the United States, its biggest market. ($1 = 34.48 baht) (Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Amrutha Gayathri)

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