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Record quarter for Marine Harvest Scotland

Rob Fletcher
Rob Fletcher
10 May 2017, at 1:00am

A combination of good prices and lowered operating costs at sea has seen Marine Harvest Scotland experience a record start to the year, despite CMS outbreaks at two freshwater sites leading to 700,000-worth of mortalities.

The company’s Q1 report, which was published today, reveals that 17,772 tonnes gutted weight were harvested, up from 12,620 in the same quarter last year, while the EBIT/kg was €3.12, up from €0.68

The higher harvest volumes were due to higher average weight and hence more biomass in sea at the start of the year, combined with strong production and improved fish health. And the cost level per kg harvested decreased compared to the first quarter 2016, due to harvesting from good performing sites and scale effects from increased volumes. Biological costs per kg decreased by 4% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the corresponding quarter of 2016. The cost of feed per kg harvested salmon was up by 1% compared to the corresponding quarter of 2016 as a result of increased feed prices.

Other seawater costs decreased by 10% due to improved biology and scale effects from increased volumes. The level of sea lice was reduced compared to the first quarter of 2016. As a result of improved biology, growth performance has been favourable in the quarter. The company will continue to have a strong focus on feeding and improved growth in order to further streamline and optimize its operations. However, as they were harvesting from good performing sites in the first quarter, they expect the cost level to increase going forward.

Operational EBIT amounted to €55.4 million in the first quarter, up from €8.5 million in the same quarter last year, a reflection of the strong prices, increased harvest volumes and harvesting from good performing sites. In the comparable quarter of 2016, Operational EBIT was negatively impacted by allocated losses of EUR 6.8 million from the Rosyth processing plant. This plant was profit-making in the first quarter of 2017.

The reference price in local currency was up by approximately 33% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the first quarter of 2016. The price level reflects strong demand and reduced supply of salmon of Scottish origin following health issues in 2016.