THE Lerøy Seafood Group, whose operations now encompass salmon farming, white fish trawling and fish processing, today became the latest Norwegian company to report ‘best ever’ third quarter results.
The group – the parent company, along with SalMar, of Scottish Sea Farms – has announced Q3 operating profits (before fair value adjustment related to biological assets) of NOK 861 million up from NOK 481 million last year. This corresponds to operating profit of NOK 17.4 per kg against NOK 14.8 per kg in Q3 2016.
CEO Henning Beltestad said: ‘We have achieved the highest revenue and the highest operating profit ever to be reported by the group in a third quarter.
‘We are pleased with such a good result, but there still remains plenty of room for improvement and this is where our focus lies.’
The farming segment harvested a total of 46,000 tonnes gutted weight of salmon and trout in Q3 2017, up by 45 per cent from the same period in 2016. This segment’s operating profit totalled NOK 715 million in Q3 2017, up from NOK 397 million in 2016.
‘The lack of growth in production together with a positive development in demand and the weaker Norwegian kroner have resulted in historically high prices for salmon,’ said Beltestad.
‘Throughout Q3 2017, a seasonal increase in harvest volume in Norway has placed some pressure on the spot prices for salmon and trout. Prices in the quarter have therefore been on the decline.’
A year ago Lerøy acquired full ownership of the trawling company Havfisk and the white fish processor Norway Seafoods (now Lerøy Norway Seafoods – LNWS).
Havfisk’s total catch volume in Q3 2017 was 17,029 tonnes, compared with 17,189 tonnes in 2016. Cod prices rose by two per cent during the quarter, but haddock prices rose substantially by 26 per cent.
In a message clearly directed at the new Norwegian government, Beltestad said: ‘We are looking forward to generating lasting values by developing the wild catch segment together with our employees both on and offshore.
‘In order to succeed, we need good, predictable framework conditions, based on a fundamental understanding of what is required to create and sustain jobs and values.
‘I have faith that the Norwegian authorities recognise this, and trust that they will now allow us to develop our business without interruption in the years to come.’
Looking ahead, the company said the Norwegian fish farming industry, including Lerøy, was in a transitional phase with extraordinarily high direct and indirect costs, due to biological challenges, political decisions and regulations.
It said that since 2013/4, the group has made substantial investments in its own production of cleaner fish and could now report very positive results.
However, as production and utilisation of cleaner fish remain in the early stages, further improvements are expected.
Harvest volumes of salmon and trout for the whole of 2017 are expected to total 176,000 tonnes with white fish catches at around 70,000 tonnes.
Picture: Leroy CEO Henning Beltestad