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Loch Duart shares out £750,000 as profits hit £8.5m

Hard grafters: From left, Duncan MacNicol, Lewis Bennett and Daniel Otieno are among 115 staff praised by boss Alban Denton. Photo: Loch Duart
Hard grafters: From left, Duncan MacNicol, Lewis Bennett and Daniel Otieno are among 115 staff praised by boss Alban Denton. Photo: Loch Duart

Loch Duart Salmon has paid out around £750,000 in bonuses to its 115 staff after announcing pre-tax profits of £8.5 million for the 2016/17 financial year.

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The profit, on turnover of £42.5m, is a significant turnaround from the previous year, when the Scourie-based company made a £2.4m loss on a  £26.4m turnover.

In a statement, Loch Duart said the 2015/16 accounts had been impacted by a jelly fish attack on the company’s Hebridean stock which affected both revenues and profits for that and the prior year. This was not repeated in 2016/17 and the success of the year meant that around £750,000 in bonus payments was shared with all staff.

Loch Duart MD Alban Denton has enjoyed a successful year. Image: Loch Duart
Loch Duart MD Alban Denton has enjoyed a successful year. Image: Loch Duart

“Our last financial year featured good fish growth, better control of the biological challenges facing the whole industry and strong salmon prices,” said managing director, Alban Denton.

“Loch Duart is a relatively small player on the salmon farming stage but we contribute significantly to the remote, rural communities in which we operate. The hard graft of our staff members is turning around the fortunes of this proud, world-class company. We properly acknowledged their fantastic efforts by sharing around £3/4 million in bonus payments with all staff."

Reduced debts

The company said its 2016/17 performance has enabled it to re-invest £2.9m in the business during the year and a similar level of investment is planned for 2017/18. It said it is also investing heavily in its non-medicinal management and maintenance of fish health.

Loch Duart has also substantially reduced its loans and bank debts, which have fallen from £7.2m at March 31, 2016 to £2.6m at March 31, 2017.

This year, Loch Duart was named Food & Drink Company of the Year at the Made in Scotland awards and its salmon was named Foodservice Product of the Year at the Scottish Food & Drink Awards.

The company, which farms in Sutherland and the Hebrides, produces around 5,000 tonnes of salmon per year, and concentrates on niche markets "where our brand values are appreciated and valued".

Last week Loch Duart signed a renewed three-year contract with Bathgate aqua feed manufacturer EWOS, for the supply of its bespoke, high-quality salmon feed with a high marine content. Loch Duart uses capelin ‘trimmings’ for all the company’s fishmeal requirements to enhance the sustainability and quality criteria of its feed.

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