Aquaculture for all

Best-selling Superbra Set to go Global

Nutrition Economics

GENERAL - Aker BioMarines Superba Krill Oil was the best-selling omega-3 product in Norwegian health food stores in the first quarter of 2009, according to statistics from the health food wholesaler Macronova.

Now, the company says that the product is on its way to international markets.

In April — early in the second quarter of 2009 — Aker BioMarine sold its first major volume of Antarctic krill oil to the company’s distributor in the United States.

“The sale is a key step into global markets for our Superba brand. Aker BioMarine expects significant krill oil sales growth,” says Aker BioMarine President and CEO Hallvard Muri.

Aker BioMarine had first-quarter 2009 operating revenues of NOK 20 million; EBITDA for the quarter was NOK -48 million. In the first quarter of 2008, operating revenues amounted to NOK 17 million, and EBITDA was NOK -18 million. Revenues are largely from sale of Qrill™ krill meal to the aquaculture industry. Pre-tax profit amounted to NOK -81 million in the first quarter of 2009, compared with NOK -19 million in the first quarter of 2008.

In the first three months of 2009, Aker BioMarine delivered 21 per cent more Qrill™ krill meal than in the first quarter of 2008. Sales prices, however, decreased somewhat. Harvesting volume and krill meal production were lower in the first quarter of 2009 than in the corresponding 2008 reporting period. The decline is attributable to challenging weather in the Southern Ocean with strong winds during some of first-quarter 2009 harvesting. For the remainder of 2009, harvest levels are expected to be on a par with the three last quarters of 2008. Harvesting volumes in April 2009 significantly exceeded April 2008 catches.

Thus far, the market launch of Superba Krill Oil dietary supplement has fulfilled the company’s sales projections.

“Although the Norwegian market is relatively small, our home market serves as a vital reference,” says Mr. Muri. “We made great strides in the first quarter toward securing additional agreements with established market participants that offer considerable US market penetration. Such agreements are considered key door-openers into a large, expanding market this year,” according to Muri.

Aker BioMarine has produced more than 30 metric tons of high-quality krill oil in advance of the US market launch. Aker BioMarine has also secured important patent protection for its concentrate product Superba™ Krill Caps. These accomplishments mean that direct sales to US consumers will begin in the third quarter of 2009. The company is considering start-up of direct sale to consumers in additional markets.