The industry wide biological challenges and mortalities reported in the previous quarter continued to impact on expected harvest volumes and drove up production and operating costs by 15 per cent (Q4 2016: £26m, Q4 2015: £22.7m).
Throughout Q4 The Scottish Salmon Company focused on increasing capacity and improving operational efficiency. Trials on its new harvest station in Ardyne, Argyll, were completed during the quarter and the facility became fully operational in January along with the company’s new well boat. Both of these investments will allow greater capacity and flexibility when harvesting and improve speed to market.
In addition, a number of smaller farms in the north region were consolidated into a single 3,400 tonne operating site, improving efficiencies and economies of scale and supporting the business’s long term strategy for growth.
Export sales accounted for 44 per cent of output, an increase of 7 per cent, as The Scottish Salmon Company continues to target overseas markets, leveraging the value of its provenance and the continued consumer demand for quality Scottish produce. Along with its Label Rouge line, its Native Hebridean Salmon is a key driver of export growth. Developed through an innovative brood stock programme, it offers 100 per cent traceable Hebridean heritage.
Craig Anderson, Chief Executive Officer at The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “We continue to make good progress in delivering our strategy for long term sustainable growth. Performance has remained stable but we recognise that the effects of recent health issues have impacted on our projected growth in the short term. Taking into account the consequences of the current biological challenges, we are now guiding harvest volumes of 25,000 tonnes volumes for 2017.”
“We remain firmly focused on delivering our long term growth strategy and saw a steady performance in the quarter against a challenging industry backdrop. Biological issues continued to affect the forecasted rise in volume, however, we have made good progress in treating these issues, the global salmon market is strong and prices are forecast to remain high.”
“We experienced a notable increase in sales over the festive period, demonstrating the continuing demand at home and overseas for Scottish salmon as a premium food product. New site development is an integral part of our growth strategy and continues to be a key focus.”