EBIT/kg shot up to £1.65 (H1 2016: £0.39), supported by the buoyant market, increased mean weights of harvested stock and a continued focus on improving operational efficiency. Harvest volumes were 11,617 tonnes (H1 2016: 13,123 tonnes). The lower volume was due to bringing harvests forward in H2 2016, reducing availability for 2017, and has not altered the expected annual harvest from initial estimates of 25,000 tonnes.
The company’s H1 report, released today, adds that the biological situation remains challenging, but they remain focused on biological improvements, introducing a number of proactive and reactive strategies, giving them an “ability to manage the situation [that] has improved significantly compared to last year”.
The company continues to advance its export strategy, leveraging the value of its provenance and the continued demand for high quality Scottish produce. During H1 2017, SSC entered new markets in the Far East and took actions to expand its presence in North America. Together with Label Rouge salmon, the company’s Native Hebridean brand is expected to be a key driver of export growth. During the first six months of 2017, export sales accounted for 52% of value (H1 2016: 42%).
The company continued to focus on increasing capacity and improving operational efficiency. Consent was secured for an additional 2,000 tonnes at a site at Portree on the Isle of Skye, with a number of other proposals for site development also underway. The Portree site will be stocked in 2018 with first harvests anticipated in late 2019. Investment in infrastructure progressed throughout the period including the purchase of a hatchery business from a longstanding supplier.
CEO, Craig Anderson, said: “Demand for premium quality Scottish salmon across the globe has never been higher and we have maximised the opportunities this provides, evidenced by a record half year performance.
“Export sales have risen exponentially in key territories like Japan, where we have just exhibited at the Seafood Expo. The response to our products has been overwhelmingly positive, particularly our unique Native Hebridean Salmon which has such a strong provenance story.
“Our strategy for long term sustainable growth is paying dividends with another site expansion consented in the period and a robust pipeline in place. Our programme of site development and securing long-term customers relationships at home and overseas, are the fundamentals which underpin this growth strategy and remain our key focus for the remainder of 2017.”