Q4 2019 results – Positive operational development drives strong earnings

Highlights

  • Harvest volume of 25 300, above guiding, and up 7% from Q4 2018 
  • EBIT before fair value adjustment of NOK 357 million (NOK 351 million)
  • EBIT/kg NOK 14.10 (NOK 14.81)
  • Solid earnings driven by strong performance in Norway
  • Biological improvements in British Columbia and Shetland, but still high costs
  • Recognized by the Carbon Disclosure Project as a leader (A) on climate disclosure and actions
  • Expect harvest of 16 800 tonnes in Q1 2020
  • 2020 volume target of 100 000 tonnes well within reach, regional differences in cost performance

Financial results

The Grieg Seafood Group harvested 25 342 tonnes GWT in Q4 2019, up 7% compared to 23 682 tonnes in Q4 2018.

Average realized price was down in Q4 2019 compared to Q4 2018, mainly due to lower price achievement in the UK and BC. Grieg Seafood’s revenues in Q4 2019 amounted to NOK 2 390 million, an increase of 12% compared to the same period last year. The revenue increase is mainly driven by higher harvest volume and spot prices.

Farming cost during the period (total cost related to fish harvested this quarter) was somewhat down compared to the same quarter last year.

The Group’s EBIT before fair value adjustment of biological assets was NOK 357 million (351) during the quarter, corresponding to an EBIT per kg of NOK 14.10 (14.81). EBIT from the four regions includes value creation from the respective sales activities of the Group’s jointly owned sales company, Ocean Quality.

Commenting on the Group’s performance, CEO Andreas Kvame, said:

“2019 was an eventful year for Grieg Seafood, marked by good market conditions and continuous improvement across all our operations. This trend continued in the fourth quarter with particularly strong results in Rogaland and Finnmark while our long-term initiatives to address biological challenges in BC and Shetland continued to yield positive results. In Shetland in particular, cost remained at a high level in the quarter, but biological improvements led to higher survival rates.

For 2020, we have a long-standing ambition of reaching 100 000 tonnes harvest with cost at or below industry average, and as we enter 2020 our volume target is within reach. However, operational development has varied between regions. While Finnmark and Rogaland have exceeded expectations, cost in BC and Shetland have been impacted by challenging biology, resulting in somewhat higher cost in these regions.”

Strategic priorities

Improving sustainability is key to increasing our profits. By focusing on reducing our environmental impact and improving fish welfare, we aim to increase harvest rates and reduce production cost. Short term, our goal is to increase production to 100 000 tonnes with a production cost at or below weighted industry average.

We aim to provide our shareholders with a competitive return on capital invested and have set a ROCE target of 12%. Our investments reflect our growth strategy: digitalization, post-smolt, biosecurity and fish welfare, including continuous evaluation of expansion opportunities.

Post-smolt improves biosecurity and survival rates and allows for a more efficient farming cycle. Increased growth on-shore also frees up sea water capacity. Digitalization in salmon farming includes applying advanced sensors, big data, artificial intelligence and automation, with the aim of generating better farming decisions.

With a strict focus on biosecurity and fish welfare, Grieg Seafood aims to achieve strong biological performance through the implementation of a broad range of technological and operational initiatives, including large smolt, GSF Precision Farming and other preventive operational measures aimed at combating sea lice and algae. The group targets an average survival rate in seawater above 93%.

GSF 2025

Grieg Seafood aims to build on our existing platform for continued sustainable growth and cost improvements. With an ambition for global growth, Grieg Seafood aims to strengthen our market position, while driving increased value creation as a global supplier of sustainably farmed salmon.

The strategy for 2020-2025 is founded in an ambition for sustainable salmon farming and comprises three key strategic objectives for continued growth and business development: Global growth, cost leadership and value chain repositioning.

Commenting on Grieg Seafood’s strategy for 2025, CEO Andreas Kvame, said:

As we look beyond 2020, we aim to build on our existing platform to ensure continued growth and cost improvements to reach more than 150 000 tonnes harvest by 2025. To scale our global operations, we will continue to grow organically, as well as through M&A activity. We will also reposition Grieg Seafood from a pure commodity supplier to an innovation partner, increasing our presence downstream through partnerships, category development and brand cultivation.

Outlook

The Group’s total share of fixed price contracts in Q4 2019 was 16% in Norway and 31% in the UK. The share of fixed price contracts for the full year 2019 was 22% and 24% for Norway and the UK, respectively. This is in the lower range of the Group’s target of 20-50% contract share. Estimated contract share for Q1 2020 is 31% in Norway and 18% in the UK.

During Q4 2019, 8.3 million smolt with an average weight around 190 grams were transferred to sea. For the full year 2019, a total of 25.2 million smolt, with an average weight of 190 grams, was stocked. We are on track to reach our harvest target of 100 000 tonnes in 2020, an increase of 20% from 2019. Expected harvest volume for Q1 2020 is 16 800 tonnes, comprised of:

  • Rogaland: 5 700 tonnes
  • Finnmark: 5 700 tonnes
  • Shetland: 1 800 tonnes
  • BC: 1 600 tonnes

Results presentation

CEO Andreas Kvame and CFO Atle Harald Sandtorv will present the results today at 08:00 CET at Hotel Continental, Stortingsgaten 24/26, Oslo.

The presentation and subsequent Q&A will be held in Norwegian and can be followed live via webcast at www.griegseafood.com or at https://channel.royalcast.com/webcast/hegnarmedia/20200213_6/

It will be possible to ask questions online.

An English transcript of the presentation will be made available at www.griegseafood.com within a few days of the presentation.

For further enquiries, please contact:

Andreas Kvame, CEO

Cell phone: +47 907 71 441

Atle Harald Sandtorv, CFO

Cell phone +47 908 45 252

About Grieg Seafood

Grieg Seafood ASA is one of the world’s leading salmon farmers, specializing in Atlantic salmon. The Group has an annual production target of 100 000 tonnes gutted weight in 2020.

Our farming facilities are in Finnmark and Rogaland in Norway, British Columbia in Canada and Shetland in the UK. 873 people are employed by the Grieg Seafood Group (incl. Ocean Quality).
Grieg Seafood ASA was listed at the Oslo Stock Exchange in June 2007. Our headquarters are situated in Bergen, Norway. The business development of Grieg Seafood ASA focuses on profitable growth, sustainable use of resources and being the preferred supplier to selected customers.

To learn more, visit www.griegseafood.com

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.