Better biology helps Mowi Scotland double Q1 earnings
Improved environmental and biological conditions, coupled with high prices, resulted in Mowi Scotland more than doubling its operating profit to €26.6 million (£23.1m) in the first quarter of this year, compared to the €10.7m earned in Q1 2022.
Harvest volume was 11,373 gutted weight tonnes, up from the 10,541 gwt harvested in the same period last year due to utilisation of increased production capacity. Harvesting was held back to capitalise on improved biological conditions in order to build biomass.
High spot prices meant that Mowi fared well with the proportion of fish it sold on the spot market, but its contract share of 66% meant that the overall price achieved was 1% below the reference price. Contracts offer security but generally offer a lower return than the spot market.
“Contribution from contracts relative to the reference price was negative in the first quarter of both 2023 and 2022. The contract share was 66% in the quarter (Q1 2022: 77%),” Mowi said in its Q1 2023 report.
Improved survival rate
Incident-based mortality of €1m (Q1 2022: €4.9m) was recognised in the quarter related to winter sores and amoebic gill disease (AGD).
“Sea water temperatures have shown slower seasonal decline than in most previous years and consequently AGD has remained challenging during the winter months,” wrote Mowi.
“Although still higher than normal for the season, seawater temperatures declined during the winter, and this led to an improved marine environment. Harvest weight improved markedly during the quarter and biomass held in the sea developed positively. Operational KPIs (key performance indicators) such as seawater production, survival rate, feed conversion rate and average harvest weights were better in the first quarter than in the comparable quarter.”
Mowi Scotland expects to harvest 17,500 gwt in the current quarter, up from 12,954 gwt in Q2 2022, and 64,000 gwt for the full year, an increase of almost 16,000 gwt from the volume harvested last year, when biological issues forced it to reduce guidance by 10,000 gwt.