AquaBounty losses grow as company stakes its future on new facility

Salmon through the window of a grow-out tank operated by AquaBounty
Salmon swim past a viewing window at AquaBounty's Indiana recirculating aquaculture system, which the company plans to sell to fund its new venture in Pioneer, Ohio | Photo courtesy of AquaBounty
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AquaBounty Technologies’ latest financial results indicate the company lost USD 27.5 million (EUR 25.6 million) in FY 2023, higher than the USD 22.1 million (EUR 20.5 million) it lost in 2022.

In its latest financial results, the company reported it generated USD 2.47 million (EUR 2.3 million) in revenue in FY 2023, down from USD 3.14 million (EUR 2.92 million) in FY 2022. The decrease in revenue was partially related to a lack of harvests, as the company’s Indiana, U.S.A.-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility was undergoing repairs, AquaBounty CEO and Board Chair Sylvia Wulf said. 

“By the time the facility was fully back in operation in early May, the market price for Atlantic salmon had begun to fall,” she said. “This continued through the second and third quarters and only partially recovered during the holiday season in the fourth quarter. The result was a decline in year-over-year revenue, even though our total production output increased by 14 percent.”

The company’s Q4 2023 revenue results painted a slightly better picture, with revenue increasing 23 percent to USD 553,000 (EUR 514,800) compared to the USD 452,000 (EUR 420,800) it achieved in Q4 2022. However, losses in Q4 widened to USD 8.4 million (EUR 7.8 million), up from USD 6 million (EUR 5.6 million) in Q4 2022.

The company announced in February that it plans to sell its land-based RAS facility in Indiana to help AquaBounty finance its planned Pioneer, Ohio, U.S.A.-based RAS facility. AquaBounty broke ground on the latter facility in April 2022 but later announced it was pausing construction in June 2023 after cost estimates jumped from the initial estimate of USD 200 million (EUR 186 million) to a range between USD 375 million and USD 395 million (EUR 349 million and EUR 367 million).

The work the company has put in to access financing for its new facility also played a part in the widening losses, Wulf said.

“Our net loss for 2023 increased over the prior year, primarily due to sharp increases in spending for state excise taxes, legal fees, and outside consulting the latter two driven by our fundraising efforts,” she said.

In its results, the company revealed that its cash reserves plummeted in 2023 – which could in part explain AquaBounty’s trouble accessing financing. The company had cash, cash equivalents, marketable securities, and restricted cash totaling USD 9.2 million (EUR 8.5 million) as of 31 December 2023 – a precipitous drop from the USD 102.6 million (EUR 95.5 million) it had as of 31 December 2022. 

In its full consolidated balance sheet, the company indicated it has USD 187.4 million (EUR 174.4 million) in total assets, the majority of which are tied up in its property, plant, and equipment, which it said is worth USD 174.3 million (EUR 162.2 million).

Despite the difficult year, Wulf said the company’s operations at its Prince Edward Island, Canada-based farm are continuing to expand. AquaBounty announced in March 2023 that it planned to transition its Canada-based facility into a broodstock facility and that it is building a second broodstock facility at the location. 

"Operations at our PEI farm continue to expand with the installation of additional egg incubation capacity, which will allow us to increase the availability of non-transgenic Atlantic salmon eggs and fry for sale to salmon farmers,” Wulf said. “Furthermore, our R&D team continues to make advances in genetics, breeding, fish health, and nutrition. We have a fully engaged and committed management team that is focused on dealing with our challenges and taking the necessary steps to support our future growth.”

Wulf said she will have an update on AquaBounty for stockholders “in the near future.”

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