Marine Harvest Reports First Quarter Operating Loss
Due largely to the outbreak of the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus in Chile, Marine Harvest ASA, the world's largest salmon producer, today reported an operating loss of 65 million kroner ($12.8 million) in the first quarter of this year, compared to a profit of 552 million kroner ($108.7 million) during the same period last year.
Revenues totaled 3,080 million kroner ($606.5 million), down from 3,795 million kroner ($747.3 million).
Marine Harvest closed one processing facility and let go 900 employees in Chile in the first quarter of 2008 to reduce operating costs to offset a drop in salmon production there.
"We have taken a number of operational actions to contribute to short and long term improvements in Chile, but it takes time to achieve the improvements," says CEO ï¿½...se Aulie Michelet. "The number of new ISA sites identified has [dropped] in the last months, [but] the overall situation remains uncertain. Still, we are optimistic about the long-term outcome for Chile."
In the first quarter of 2008, Marine Harvest's Chilean operations produced about as much salmon as last year, and an increase in production at its Norwegian operations offset the lack of growth in Chile.
The Norwegian company expects to produce 319,000 metric tons of salmon and trout this year, up 11,000 metric tons from its previous forecast.
Also today, Nutreco subsidiary Skretting, the world's biggest fish feed producer, agreed to a two-year fish feed contract with Marine Harvest, in which Skretting will supply the salmon farmer with about 70 percent of its total fish feed requirements. Marine Harvest cited rising feed costs as one of its main challenges this year.