Benchmark seeing the benefits at salmon egg facility

Salmon stock at Benchmark's new salmon egg facility in Norway
Salmon stock at Benchmark's new salmon egg facility in Norway
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Biotech firm Benchmark Holdings, which develops vaccines to keep fish healthy rather than using antibiotics to treat disease, said it is starting to see benefits from investment in its new facility in Salten, Norway.

The Sheffield-based firm said production at its new salmon egg facility in Salten has been ramped up following the opening of the site earlier this year.

The new facility will increase Benchmark’s in-house capacity by 75 per cent. Global demand for salmon has grown by 6-7 per cent a year and is expected to increase substantially over the next decade.

Benchmark said its new facility was built to the highest standards of technology and biosecurity and it is the most modern salmon egg production site in the world.

The increased capacity will allow Benchmark to supply the global market with biosecure eggs year-round, a significant advantage for producers which is only possible with land-based production. The firm is a world leader in salmon genetics and the world leading supplier of salmon eggs.

Benchmark said revenue rose 3 per cent to £78m in the six months to March 31. However, adjusted pre-tax profits fell 86 per cent to £700,000 as a result of increased depreciation following recent investment and higher finance costs. Benchmark benefitted from a one-off deferred tax credit of £9.2m in the first half of 2018.

Adjusted EBITDA rose 25 per cent to £7.5m, reflecting the contribution of higher value products, an increase in the value of biological assets as a result of growing sales and increasing capacity in Norway, and cost controls.

The group reported challenging conditions in the global shrimp market, with growth in genetics, health and knowledge services more than offsetting a drop in advanced nutrition.