Friday, 11 January 2008

Two Friendly Fish In The Same Organic Sea

The Ontario head of the giant organic food retailer - Whole Foods Market - told BNN Television January 10th that there is no need for a bloody market war with Alberta-based Planet Organic.

Peter Hilge said with organic food sales growing at 20% per year and Whole Foods having much bigger stores than Planet Organic, a knock-'em-down fight for market share would be nonsensical.

"I think there is more than enough pie that we can share," Hilge said when asked if there was going to be a hard-fought battle between the only two publicly-traded organic food retailers.

Planet Organic estimates its current fiscal year sales will chime in at roughly $100 million while the much older, United States-based Whole Foods is racking up sales in the $6-billion range.

Planet CFO Darren Krissie and Mr. Hilge were both guests on an afternoon show on the popular Canadian business television station.

Another example in the difference between the veteran retailer and the younger Planet Organic shows in the share price.

Whole Foods closed on NASDAQ at $37.50 on January 11th with volumes of roughly 6.5 million shares. Planet closed on the Toronto Stock Exchange Venture index at $2.40 with volumes of 11,800 shares.

Mr. Krissie said he and Planet Chairman, Ron Francisco, believe their company shares are trading below fair market value simply because of the currently depressed markets and, as a result, both men are buying Planet shares now.

To view the entire interview please click here. The interviews with Mr. Krissie and Mr. Hilge begin at the 38-second market.