Austevoll Seafood has become the latest company to report a Covid-19 hit on its 2020 second quarter performance due to lower margins from trout and Atlantic salmon, including Scottish Sea Farms in which it has an interest. The figures might have been worse had it not been for higher earnings from its pelagic fishing activity in Chile.
Austevoll has reported pre-tax profits of NOK 714.2 million, down from NOK 1,169.8 million in the same period last year. Operating revenues for the period totalled NOK 5,306 million down from NOK 6,079 million a year ago.
The company said in a statement that the main reason for lower earnings was reduced margins (per kilo) for salmon and trout, which remains its most important activity and higher harvesting costs. But earnings from pelagic fishing in South America (Chile and Peru) have increased on 12 months ago. It said in the current Covid-19 situation, the companies in the group had put considerable effort into ensuring the safety of its employees and have had a strong focus on keeping the value chain operational. ‘Despite some extremely challenging conditions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the companies in Chile and Peru have completed the fishing season and fished 100 per cent of their respective allocated quotas for the season,’ it added.
Austevoll Seafood’s most important asset is its controlling shareholding in Lerøy Seafood Group, one of Norway’s multi seafood business heavily engaged in salmon farming, white fish catching and fish processing – and which also reported weaker results a few days ago, and also Birkeland Farming AS. This makes it one of the largest producers of salmon in the world.
It also means it has an interest in Scottish Sea Farms (also known as Norskott Havbruk AS) which reported a loss of NOK 26 million in Q2 due to on-going biological issues.