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Norway Royal Salmon ‘financially strong’ despite steep Q4 EBIT drop

Norway Royal Salmon's board is proposing a dividend of NOK 3.00 per share for 2020. Photo: NRS.
Norway Royal Salmon's board is proposing a dividend of NOK 3.00 per share for 2020. Photo: NRS.

Low salmon prices notwithstanding, Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) made enough profit last year that the board has proposed a dividend of NOK 3.00 per share for 2020.

NRS today reported an operational EBIT for the fourth quarter of 2020 of NOK 17 million (£1.45m), just 12.5% of the NOK 136m earned in Q4 2019. EBIT per kg was NOK 5.05 (Q4, 2019: NOK 17.71).

The farming operations in the company achieved an operational EBIT of NOK 36.1m against NOK 146.0m in the corresponding quarter the year before.

Charles Høstlund: NRS had 15% more biomass in the sea at the end of 2020.
Charles Høstlund: NRS had 15% more biomass in the sea at the end of 2020.

Low prices

“The market price of salmon has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and has been low in the quarter.” said chief executive Charles Høstlund in a stock exchange briefing.

“Our margins in this quarter are affected by this, even though production costs have been reduced slightly from the previous quarter. The biomass in the sea has increased during the quarter and is 15% higher than at the end of the same quarter last year. This leads to that NRS has almost fully utilised our licences at the end of the quarter.”

For the whole of 2020, NRS had operating revenues of NOK 5.1 billion and achieved an operational EBIT of NOK 246m. The board proposes a dividend of NOK 3.00 per share for 2020.

Unused credit

NRS said it has a good financial position with NOK 1,422m in unused credit facilities at the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.

“NRS has strengthened its financial capacity during the quarter and has been granted NOK 800m in increased borrowing with a sustainability loan. Payments to the company’s growth investments in Arctic Offshore Farming and a new hatchery are the main reason why net interest-bearing debt increased in the quarter by NOK 577m to NOK 1,522m. Equity at the end of the quarter is MNOK 3,131, which gives an equity ratio of 54%.”

40,000 tonnes this year

NRS harvested a volume of 7,148 tonnes gutted weight in Q4, which is 13% lower than the corresponding quarter last year.

For 2020, the total harvest volume was 30,509 tonnes and for 2021 the harvest volume is expected to be 40,000 tonnes, which is an increase of 31% compared to 2020.

The volume sold from the sales business in the quarter is 23,244 tonnes of salmon, which is 6% lower than the corresponding quarter last year.

Arctic Fish

“We are currently in the final phase of the listing process of Arctic Fish on Euronext Growth on the Oslo Stock Exchange, and as part of this process, NRS has increased its ownership to 51.3%,” said Høstlund.

“Arctic Fish is an Icelandic fish farming company that estimates to harvest 12,000 tonnes of salmon in 2021 and currently has a production cost in line with the average for Norwegian fish farming companies. Arctic Fish has a significant growth potential and estimates a harvest volume of approximately 24,000 tonnes in 2025.”