Take-up of Benchmark's combined Ectosan Vet / CleanTreat lice treatment and water filtration service has increased.

Demand for lice treatments and salmon eggs boosts Benchmark's revenue

Company has had an excellent start to its financial year, says chief executive

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Aquaculture biotechnology business Benchmark Holdings increased revenue by 36% to £54.5 million in the first quarter of its 2023 financial year, which began in October 2022.

The company’s Health division, which operates a service for treating salmon for lice with Benchmark’s novel Ectosan Vet treatment and CleanTreat filtration system, reported revenue of £10.4 m, an 80% increase compared to the same period the year before.

The increase was attributed to increased adoption of Ectosan Vet by fish farmers, and higher sales of Benchmark’s long-established lice treatment, Salmosan Vet (azamethiphos).

Longer exposure

“Revenues from Salmosan Vet were £2.9m (Q1 FY22: £1.3m) with significant growth achieved in Canada, Norway and the Faroe Islands,” Benchmark said in a results update today.

“Growth was driven by a variation to the marketing label which supports a longer product exposure, as well as enhanced engagement with customers through our portfolio of sea lice solutions which can be used in combination to address our customers’ sea lice challenge.”

The company’s Genetics division, which primarily supplies salmon ova, increased revenue by 41% to £21.4 m in Q1 FY23, driven by a 57% increase in sales of salmon eggs and a 31% increase in harvest income.

The company sold 118 million eggs in Q1, up from 76 m in the same quarter in FY22.

Reduced operating loss

Q1 revenues from Benchmark’s Advanced Nutrition division were £22.7 m, up 19% year on year. The increase was due to higher sales in all product areas, plus favourable foreign exchange rates.

Trond Williksen: "This is the result of a good performance in all our business areas."

The company reported a smaller operating loss of £0.1 m, reduced from £1.5 m in Q1 FY22, despite costs for depreciation and amortisation rising by 13% to £10.1 m, and exceptional costs of £1 m incurred related to costs associated with the listing on Euronext Growth Oslo and preparation for up-listing on the Oslo stock exchange.

The Group reported a small profit before tax of £0.1m (Q1 FY22: loss before tax £3.7m); the loss after tax for the period was £0.7m (Q1 FY22: loss after tax £5.1m).

Consistent revenue growth

“Benchmark has had an excellent start to the year, again showing a continuation of the consistent growth we have seen in revenues and net operating profit on a 12-month rolling basis,” said chief executive Trond Williksen.

“This is the result of a good performance in all our business areas. In particular, it is pleasing to see traction in our Health business driven by significantly higher adoption of our sea lice solutions, contributing to a positive financial performance for the quarter.

“We are making progress towards our goal of up-listing to the Oslo Børs, the preeminent listing venue for aquaculture and seafood companies globally. This will enable us to increase our visibility with a dedicated group of analysts and investors.

“We are grateful to our existing shareholders for their support through the years and we are committed to continuing to deliver improved financial performance and strategic progress for the benefit of all our stakeholders.”