Marine Harvest Reduces Chile Sales Forecast

The world’s largest salmon-farming company no longer expects to break even in Chile, as it battles to overcome the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) outbreak that has taken a big bite out of production there.

Marine Harvest today announced that it is reducing its 2009 sales forecast of Chilean salmon from 40,000 metric tons to 30,000 metric tons and will be “cautious” with smolt stocking and infrastructure investments in the near term.

The Norwegian company also today reported a fourth-quarter loss of NOK 666.3 million (USD 96.4 million, EUR 74.9 million), compared to an NOK 147.6 million loss during the same period last year, while sales increased 10 percent to NOK 4 billion (USD 584.6 million, EUR 454.2 million). It blamed the loss on a weakening kroner and lower interest rates.

However, Marine Harvest reported an operating profit of NOK 267.6 million (USD 38.7 million, EUR 30.1 million) in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss last year.

“We find good reason to believe that the salmon industry, like the food industry, is less hit by the financial unrest than other industries,” said Marine Harvest CEO Åse Aulie Michelet. "Given that Marine Harvest’s financial exposure to Chile has reached a manageable level, and given continued improvements in operations, we expect an improved performance in 2009."

In addition to Chile, Marine Harvest operates salmon farms and processing facilities in Norway, Scotland and Canada.


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