A statement from the aquaculture biotechnology and food chain sustainability business reveals: “Good progress was made towards the commercial field trials launch of a ground-breaking sea lice treatment”.
The group expects significant revenues from this product in the second half of the year and beyond. This will be welcomed following the challenging first half for Benchmark’s principle delousing agent, Salmosan, sales of which were dented by an industry focus on non-medicinal delousing methods.
Highlights of the half year up to 31st March 2017 include the group signing a joint venture agreement to provide genetics, health and knowledge services to the world’s third largest salmon producer, SalMar ASA; construction of their new salmon egg production facility in Norway – in a bid to underpin the Breeding and Genetics division’s market leading position in the sector – continuing on schedule; and progress being made by the group’s Advanced Animal Nutrition division towards the goal of delivering a 100 per cent live replacement for feeding juvenile shrimp, a key to unlocking future growth potential for the industry.
The group’s new state-of-the-art vaccine manufacturing facility in Braintree is being commissioned and first commercial batches are expected in H2.
Commenting on trading, Benchmark's CEO, Malcolm Pye, said: “The agreement with SalMar is an example of the value we can deliver to our customers by aggregating leading technologies to provide integrated solutions to the issues faced by the food production industry. There are a number of technologies in the later stages of development that we are particularly excited about, and we look forward to delivering these, through our distribution networks, including into the significant Asian and Latin American shrimp and tilapia markets.”
The group is seeking to grow sales and market share in developing markets, including China, for its Breeding and Genetics and Advanced Animal Nutrition divisions, and is progressing towards establishing strategic relationships in those regions. Further progress has been made with the development of the group-wide customer account management programme, which will promote the full benefit of Benchmark’s integrated technology solutions in aquaculture.
The long-term drivers of growth in the company's sectors, which include the growing global demand for aquaculture products and an ever-increasing pressure to limit the use of antibiotics in the food chain, remain strong, with increasing momentum and interest in the aquaculture market. The company continues to focus on delivery of its strategy to deploy leading technologies drawn from across the group, through established distribution channels, into long-term growth markets.
Benchmark expects to announce its interim results for the six months to 31 March 2017 during the week commencing 26 June 2017.