Isles salmon sector making money –

Isles salmon sector making money Published:  13 September, 2006

THE SALMON farming industry in Shetland is earning money again after

Hjaltland Seafarms reported record profits of £4.4 million for the first half of this year.

Hjaltland is an integrated salmon farming and processing company with an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes.

In the light of the deep crisis in the salmon industry over the last five years which brought down a number of companies in the isles, Hjaltland has further increased efficiency and managed to slash operating cost by 20 per cent.

Now, with the high prices at present paid for salmon, the company has

achieved an operating margin of 31 percent over the last six months.

Hjaltland chief executive Michael Stark added: “In July we achieved an

average margin of over 40 per cent, as we experienced the full impact of the high market prices that we have seen in recent months.

“We also achieve better prices in the market compared with our

competitors. We have the largest packing and processing plant for salmon in the UK. The production is market driven, as Hjaltland is marketing the products directly to our regular customers. And, in particular, the UK market puts a premium on Scottish Salmon as it contains less fat than its Norwegian counterpart.”

Hjaltland Seafarms is expected to produce 16,000 tonnes of salmon and a further 1,000 of salmon trout during 2006. From the company’s own cages they are expected to harvest 13,500 tonnes.

According to Mr Stark further expansion is already on its way: “In the past nine months we have bought two farm companies. These acquisitions include five new sites, which will give us the increased capacity to reach the level of product we require for a growing share of the market.”

The company has also just started construction of a £3 million expansion to their processing plant in Lerwick, which should be operational by the end of 2007.

Main shareholders in the company are Selvaag Invest, holding 48 per cent of the shares, and Sjøtroll and Bremnes Seashore each holding 24 per cent of the shares in the company.