Yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) at The Kingfish Company's RAS facility.

Kingfish Company optimistic after reducing loss per kilo


Land-based seriola farmer The Kingfish Company substantially reduced its loss per kilo in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same period last year, new figures published today show.

The Netherlands-based farmer’s operational EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation) per kg improved 82% to €-0.6 per kg (Q1 2023: €-3.1 per kg).

“The first-quarter financial results indicate a promising start to the year, with an increase in sales volume, and operational EBITDA closing in on break-even,” said chief executive Vincent Erenst.

“Our primary focus this year is on further development of sales and operations; we are expanding sales to both existing and new clients in Europe and North America, while simultaneously exploring new markets for our yellowtail kingfish. We will also work with our team on further improvement of operational efficiency.”

Maximum carrying capacity

The Kingfish Company said in its Q1 2024 report that biological performance at its recently expanded recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Zeeland continued to exceed expectations, achieving a biomass growth of 642 tonnes in the quarter, slightly higher than the 626 tonnes achieved in Q4 2023. The standing biomass reached 1,043 tonnes at the end of the first quarter.

“As we have almost reached the maximum carrying capacity of our installations, we proactively manage growth. This explains the lower productivity of 0.57 kg per cubic metre per day (Q4 2023: 0.63 kg per cubic metre per day). New feed formulations, improved quality of the juveniles in combination with lower temperature, resulted in a reduction of the eFCR to 1.26, a significant improvement compared to 1.42 in Q4 2023,” stated the company.

“Revenue increased by 5% to €5.9 million, compared to €5.6 million in Q1 2023.

“This growth was primarily driven by increased sales to the retail sector, while growth in the horeca (hotels, restaurants, catering) sector will accelerate with the start of the summer season.

410 tonnes sold

“Total volume sold reached 410 tonnes, up from 363 tonnes in Q1 2023. However, the average revenue per kilogram declined from €15.1 in Q1 2023 to €14.4, attributed to intensified promotional activities in retail. Despite facing increased price competition in the US frozen market, sales volumes in North America experienced significant growth, alongside positive performance in Italy, France and Spain.

“As we continued to ramp-up production and sales to fully utilise the Phase 2 capacity, the company made significant progress towards reaching profitability, with a 90% increase in gross margin per kg to €4.6 (Q1 2023: €2.4 per kg).”

The company has increased capacity in Zeeland from 1,500 to 3,500 tonnes per year, and also has permission to build an 8,500-tonnes-per-year RAS facility in Jonesport, Maine, in the United States.

“Whereas the current main priority is on optimising the operations in the Netherlands, the company also continues to develop expansion plans in the US and the Netherlands. The company expects to benefit from the scaling effect and further improvement in operations and productivity to become profitable and cash positive,” the company said.