Austevoll’s Q1 earnings, volumes rise, but COVID-19 impacts salmonid market
Storebø, Norway-headquartered Austevoll Seafood ASA (AUSS) achieved revenues of almost NOK 5.86 billion (USD 584.3 million, EUR 535.3 million) in the first quarter of this year, up from NOK 5.56 billion (USD 554.4 million, EUR 507.9 million) in the corresponding period of 2019.
At the same time, the group’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) increased by NOK 43 million (USD 4.3 million, EUR 3.9 million) year-on-year to NOK 1.2 billion (USD 119.6 million, EUR 109.6 million).
AUSS’s income from associates saw losses of NOK 50 million (USD 5 million, EUR 4.6 million) in the quarter, compared with gains of NOK 131 million (USD 13.1 million, EUR 12 million) in Q1 2019.
According to the company’s Q1 2020 report, the increase in revenue and earnings is explained by a higher harvest volume of Atlantic salmon and trout, and higher catch volumes of whitefish when compared with the same period in 2019. However, a disappointing fishing season in Peru in Q4 2019, including a significant decline in sales volume for fishmeal and oil, resulted in a reduction in revenue and earnings for this segment in the quarter, when compared with Q1 2019.
The company also stated that the various restrictions implemented in Norway and internationally due to the COVID-19 outbreak have affected the market for salmon and trout, with a much lower spot price of around NOK 50 (USD 4.99, EUR 4.57) per kilogram realized at the end of March, compared to the “extremely high” NOK 80 (USD 7.98, EUR 7.31) per kilogram price at the start of the year.
AUSS’s Q1 2020 profit before tax and fair value adjustment related to biological assets was NOK 659 million (USD 65.7 million, EUR 60.2 million), compared with NOK 939 million (USD 93.6 million, EUR 85.8 million) a year previously.
Established in 1981, the group comprises fish farming and fishing companies Lerøy Seafood Group ASA (Europe), Br. Birkeland AS (Norway) and Br. Birkeland Farming AS (Norway), fishing, fishmeal and fish oil operations Austral Group S.A.A (Peru) and Foodcorp Chile S.A (Chile), and the joint-venture Pelagia Holding AS (Europe).
Collectively, these operations catch between 400,000 and 500,000 metric tons (MT) of pelagic fish annually, 100,000 to 120,000 MT of whitefish, and produce 190,000 to 200,000 MT of salmon.