Benchmark ready to tackle long-term growth in aquaculture

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What Benchmark Holdings does

Benchmark Holdings PLC (LON:BMK) has three core divisions, breeding and genetics – which includes characteristics such as disease resistance, production efficiency and product quality.

The Advanced Nutrition division specialises in feeding the young animals including probiotics to get through the early life stages, while Animal Health tackles serious issues such as sea lice in fish farming.

The company believes the combined products have the potential to be transformational for the industry, providing a solution with “zero environmental impact to one of the industry’s biggest challenges”.

Knowledge Services, the fourth leg, is the smallest and includes aquaculture veterinary consulting services, data services, education and training.

How it’s doing

For the three months ended June 30, the firm reported adjusted earnings (EBITDA) from continuing operations of £300,000, swinging from a £1.4mln loss a year ago, while revenues rose to £24.5mln from £22.8mln.

The company said its genetics business had seen “continued good performance” during the period, while its advanced nutrition division had also seen higher revenues as it benefitted from a partial catch-up of orders that were delayed due to the coronavirus.

Looking ahead, Benchmark said the salmon industry “remains resilient” with stable sea bass and sea bream markets, although conditions in the shrimp market were “challenging” and they expected these trends to continue into its 2021 financial year.

The group also expects to deliver full-year results that are in line with market expectations.

The company also made progress in July when it completed the sale of its vaccine manufacturing facility at Braintree in the UK to Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult for £16mln in cash.

What the boss says, chief executive Trond Williksen

“We are very pleased with the significant progress made over the last few months towards the completion of the disposal of non-core assets and the cash proceeds generated. Following the restructuring we are well advanced to become a streamlined, financially strong business wholly focused on our core businesses: Genetics, Advanced Nutrition and Health. We continue to work on our restructuring programme which aims to deliver £10mln in annual savings from [the 2021 financial year] taking us a step closer towards our goal of becoming sustainably profitable.”

“While the shrimp market continues to experience challenges as a result of [coronavirus] the salmon market which underpins our genetics and health businesses remains resilient and overall, we expect to deliver full year results in line with expectations.”

Video Interview – chairman Peter George

Inflexion points

  • Launch and ramp-up of CleanTreat
  • BMK08 regulatory approval
  • Recovery of shrimp and seabass markets 

Blue Sky

Fundamentals remain firmly in the company’s favour: 

The fishing industry has just about reached the limit of what it can catch in the sea and might even be in decline

Seafood is increasingly acknowledged as an essential component of healthy diets

The growing middle-classes in the southern hemisphere, traditionally a fish-eating culture, are spending evermore.

A growing global population needs more food to be produced from the water

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