Aquaculture biotechnology business Benchmark says its profits for the year to 30 September 2022 are set to exceed market expectations.
The company’s latest trading update, ahead of the audited full year results, suggests that Benchmark will report adjusted EBITDA “in the range of £30m-£31m” for the financial year. That would mean the company outdoing the consensus market expectation of £27.7m. For the previous financial year, Benchmark reported adjusted EBITDA of £19.4m.
The trading update said: “The company ended the year strongly, delivering better than expected trading across its three business areas in Q4.”
Benchmark’s Genetics division ended the year above management expectations, benefitting from strong demand for salmon eggs in Q4, which the company was able to fulfil through its recent investment in a new bio-secure incubation centre in Iceland.
The update also said: “Advanced Nutrition saw a continuation of the excellent performance throughout the year, delivering revenues ahead of plan across all product areas. In Health, revenues from Ectosan® Vet and CleanTreat® reflect increased activity and customer uptake as we move into the main sea lice treatment season.”
On 16 September the company refinanced the outstanding NOK 850m (£70.8m) secured bond through the issue of an unsecured NOK 750m (£62.4m) green bond despite what it said were very challenging market conditions.
However, the update warned that heightened volatility in debt and currency markets have impacted financing costs, including the currency revaluation of debt. In addition to this, Benchmark has faced one-off costs associated with the redemption of the outstanding NOK 850 million bond, which amount to around £2.5m. Net debt excluding lease liabilities at 30 September was £47.5m and cash was £36.4m following the refinancing.
Benchmark aims to list on the Euronext Growth Oslo stock market by the end of calendar year 2022, with the intention of moving up to the Oslo Børs, the leading seafood and aquaculture market globally, in H1 of calendar year 2023. T
Trond Williksen, CEO, commented: “We are pleased by the strong end to the year, which is a continuation of the consistent performance in the business over the last eight quarters. Looking ahead, we have had a good start to FY23 and the outlook for the business remains positive.
“Benchmark is a well-positioned, diversified business able to take advantage of commercial opportunities in the main aquaculture species across the world and to benefit from the underlying megatrends in the industry, which will support the group’s sustainable growth over the medium and long term.”