Salmon farming giant Mowi has announced global record high volumes for the first quarter of 2021, with Scotland’s improved biological performance leading to a doubling of production and a big increase in operating profit.

Worldwide, Mowi harvested 125,000 tonnes of salmon and sold 62,000 tonnes of value added products while reducing farming costs by 9% at the same time – all in a period still impacted by coronavirus lockdown measures.

But the quarter also saw a welcome increase in salmon prices. CEO Ivan Vindheim said: “Although extensive lockdown measures are still in place, out-of-home consumption has started to improve in some markets compared with the previous quarter.

“Demand in retail has continued to be very good, something Mowi has yet again capitalised on through our integrated value chain.”

Vindheim also believes demand for salmon is on its way back to full recovery.

The turnaround in Scotland, which has had problems in recent years, must be highly encouraging for the company. Harvest volumes increased from just over 9,000 tonnes in Q1 last year to 18,273 tonnes this year.

The operational EBIT for Scotland was €26.6m (£22.9m) against €5.7m (£4.91m) in 2019, while the accounting EBIT was €40.2m (£34.6m) against a loss of €18.2m (£15.7m) last year. The operational EBIT per kg more than doubled from €0.63 to €1.46 (£0.54 to £1.26).

Mowi said Scotland  achieved all-time high harvest volumes for a first quarter following improved biological performance plus:

  • Improved earnings on lower cost and increased volumes
  • Despite lower market prices in the quarter, price achievement was good and impacted by strong spot performance and positive contract contributions
  • Harvest from sites outside the Isle of Skye in the second quarter which carry a higher cost level (compared to first quarter)

Globally, Mowi achieved an operational EBIT of €109m, the same as the corresponding quarter in 2020. The company reported operational revenues of €1,022m (€885m in 2019 million). Full-year harvest guidance for 2021 is unchanged at 445,000 tonnes.

The Mowi board  has decided to pay NOK 0.77 per share in ordinary dividend in the second quarter of 2021, equivalent to 50% of underlying earnings per share in the first quarter of 2021.

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