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SalMar results for first quarter 2020. SalMar ASA reported an Operational EBIT of NOK 1,065 million for the first quarter of 2020. This is the highest ever achieved in the company’s history. In the same period of 2019, Operational EBIT came to NOK 806 million.

“For the SalMar Group, the first quarter was very good. We posted the highest ever Operational EBIT in the company’s history, achieved through strong underlying operations, high volumes and good prices. Central Norway in particular distinguished itself through solid performance in the quarter,” says SalMar’s CEO Gustav Witzøe.

Gross operating revenues came to just over NOK 3.6 billion for the quarter, up 22 per cent on the same quarter of 2019. SalMar harvested 40,000 tonnes in the first quarter, up from 35,500 tonnes in the corresponding period last year. Operational EBIT per kg came to NOK 26.61 for the first quarter, up from NOK 22.71 per kg for the first quarter of 2019. The increase is attributable to higher prices and a larger harvested volume.

Fish Farming Central Norway posted good results for the period on the back of sound operations. A more even spread of the harvested volume and higher spot prices resulted in considerably better price achievement than for the previous quarter. The bulk of the fish harvested in the first quarter were from the autumn 2018 generation. In the second quarter, more fish deriving from the spring-2019 generation will be harvested. These have demonstrated good biological performance. SalMar therefore expects the segment to report lower costs and a slightly higher harvested volume in the second quarter of 2020 than in the first.

Fish Farming Northern Norway’s results for the quarter were affected by higher harvesting costs at sites suffering from ISA. However, the segment achieved a considerably better operating margin than in previous quarters due to cost improvements and increased spot prices. The sites affected by ISA have now been emptied out, and SalMar expects the segment to report a slightly lower harvested volume and lower costs for the second quarter this year.

The first quarter of 2020 was challenging for Arnarlax. The segment experienced a high rate of mortality as a result of winter wounds, which resulted in a large volume of fish being harvested in a period of poor weather conditions and low sea temperatures. This led to high costs. In the second quarter this year, harvesting from same generation will continue and SalMar therefore expects significantly lower volume and weak margins for the second quarter.

Through the first quarter the Sales and Processing segment achieved good capacity utilisation and effective operations, which have provided good margins for SalMar’s harvesting and secondary processing operations. The segment also secured favourable placement of volumes at spot prices in a quarter characterised by high prices. Nevertheless, the segment reported an Operational EBIT of NOK -17 million, after a negative contribution from fixed-price contracts. Some 24 per cent of the volume was sold under fixed-price contracts in the first quarter of 2020. The contract rate for the second quarter is 25 per cent, while it stands at 20 per cent for the year as a whole. Contract prices are slightly higher than the level in 2019.

The corona pandemic (covid-19) has created significant uncertainty for world trade, and changes in consumer behaviour and transport patterns are affecting several markets. SalMar is closely monitoring developments in the various markets and is constantly assessing measures to adjust its production. SalMar has a solid financial position and good flexibility in its supply chain, which ensures that the company is well equipped to handle changes in the market.
As a result of the covid-19 situation and the prevailing uncertainty with regard to its consequences going forward, SalMar’s board of directors decided in March to cancel the proposed dividend distribution to shareholders.

Despite the uncertainty, SalMar strongly believe in further growth of the aquaculture industry. The company is therefore continuing its investment projects as planned, including the construction of the InnovaNor harvesting and processing plant in Northern Norway and the smolt production facility on Senja.

SalMar maintains its expectations to harvest 152,000 tonnes in Norway: 103,000 tonnes in Central Norway and 49,000 tonnes in Northern Norway and 12,000 tonnes in Iceland in 2020.