Benchmark to open Norwegian facility

Biotech firm Benchmark Holdings, which develops vaccines to keep fish healthy rather than using antibiotics to treat disease, is to start producing salmon eggs at its new land based breeding facility in Norway.

The Sheffield-based firm said 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 Salten facility has been built to the highest standards of technology and biosecurity, and will be 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 only possible with land based production.

Benchmark is a world leader in salmon genetics and the world leading supplier of salmon eggs. The company said it is committed to delivering technologically advanced products and solutions to drive the sustainable development of aquaculture.

It added that developing environmentally friendly, biosecure, land-based production is a critical element in reducing the impact of disease on the salmon industry, contributing to long term sustainable growth.

The announcement is the culmination of a two year, £40m investment, delivered on time.

Benchmark currently outsources part of its production to meet growing demand for its products. The new facility will enable the group to bring production in-house enhancing profitability.

Malcolm Pye, CEO of Benchmark, said: "The opening of our new facility in Salten on time is a very important milestone for Benchmark which will allow us to capitalise on our leading market position in salmon genetics and the favourable long term market trends in the industry.

"We expect it to contribute additional revenues at higher margins going forward.”

Sales of fertilised eggs will commence in November and additional fish will be brought into the facility to ramp up volumes throughout 2019.

As anticipated, initial sales will benefit the 2019 financial year, with full production capacity expected by 2021.

Salten is located in Northern Norway where the salmon production base is growing fast. The new facility will allow Benchmark to serve this growing region as well as the rest of Norway and international markets.

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