“An unsatisfactory year” – Royal Greenland posts DKK 255 million loss in 2023

Royal Greenland’s Avataq fishing vessel
Royal Greenland’s Avataq fishing vessel | Photo courtesy of Royal Greenland
4 Min

Royal Greenland posted a DKK 255 million (USD 36.8 million, EUR 34.2 million) pre-tax loss in 2023, which it blamed on a global market decline and economic uncertainty, combined with higher costs.

Royal Greenland Chair Maliina Abelsen called the year “undoubtedly … one of the most challenging in our long history,” even as the company managed to maintain its net revenue at DKK 5.798 billion (USD 837 million, EUR 777 million), nearly even with its 2022 result of DKK 5.757 billion (USD 831 million, EUR 772 million).

“Our journey through 2023 has been characterized by global upheavals that have tested our resilience and adaptability,” Abelsen said. “The ongoing geopolitical turmoil, escalated by conflict and war, has sent tremors through the world economy, which for us has meant navigating the waters of inflation and rising production costs. These challenges have affected every facet of our business from capture to end customer and have required extraordinary efforts from our entire team.”

Royal Greenland CEO Susanne Arfelt Rajamand listed a slew of challenges the company battled in 2023, including a market slowdown in Europe and the U.S., a flood of Russian cod and snow crab dragging down global prices, fluctuations between flat and declining sales prices, increasing costs, and a decline in the company’s business in Chile after it lost approval to export to China.

“It has been a demanding year, but it is in adversity that we test our resilience and ability to adapt. We have introduced additional cost controls across the business and improved our operational efficiency, which should help soften some of the economic blows we are facing,” Royal Greenland CEO Susanne Arfelt Rajamand said in a statement.

In response to the turmoil, the Nuuk, Greenland firm, which is owned by Greenland’s government, implemented cost-saving measures, including the decision to permanently close its processing facility in Matane, Quebec, Canada, which was destroyed in a fire in March 2024.

“We are in the process of a turnaround where we are analyzing several activities and initiatives to drive costs out of the company,” Arfelt Rajamand said. The strategy will deliver savings of at least DKK 100 million [USD 14.4 million, EUR 13.4 million] annually when fully implemented.”

The company’s sales in Europe, which accounted for 26 percent of its total sales, fell 5 percent to DKK 1.5 billion (USD 217 million, EUR 201 million), with the decline led by drops in sales of cod and shell-on prawns.

“The decline in cod can partly be attributed to restraint among industrial buyers and competition from imported Russian cod at low prices,” the company said. “In the U.K., Royal Greenland's sales continue to be hampered by the challenges created by Brexit.”

Royal Greenland’s sales to Scandinavia, which made up 19 percent of its total sales, declined to DKK 1.1 billion (USD 159 million, EUR 148 million). The company said it had held its ground in Denmark and Norway but lost out in other markets.

The firm had better fortune in Asia, where it achieved record revenue of DKK 2 billion (USD 289 million, EUR 268 million), with Greenland halibut and shell-on prawns accounting for 75 percent of its sales, which were 35 percent of the company’s total sales. Its own-brand consumer-packaged products in China sold well in supermarkets and via e-commerce, creating DKK 90 million (USD 13 million, EUR 12.1 million) in revenue. A recession in Japan and currency devaluation of the yen has hurt demand there, however.

Royal Greenland's DKK 1 billion (USD 144.4 million, EUR 134.1 million) in North American sales amounted to 17 percent of its total sales. 

“After a turbulent 2022, where snow crab sales experienced a significant decline, efforts in 2023 [in North America] have been concentrated on rebuilding solid and stable sales, with a particular focus on snow crab,” it said. “In 2023, Royal Greenland has expanded sales in foodservice and retail, which has increased our resilience.”

Royal Greenland's remaining sales – in Australia, Chile, and to business partners in the Middle East – were stable.

“Despite a difficult market environment, Royal Greenland has maintained its market position in key product categories such as prawn and snow crab, and we have good expectations for improved sales in the coming periods,” Arfelt Rajamand said. “We have also intensified sales in stable and growing markets such as China and are working to optimize our product offerings to fit the current market conditions.”

At home in Greenland, the company broke ground on a new ...

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