Benchmark sees future growth in R&D

BENCHMARK Holdings, the international aquaculture genetics, animal health, technical publishing and sustainability science business, increased its revenue by 30 per cent in the six months ending March 31, 2015.
Announcing its interim results for the period, the firm revealed revenue was £19.8 million, up from £15.2 million in the same period in 2014.
Other highlights from the first half of the financial year include:
EBITDA from trading activities1 fell by £1.4m to £1.2m (H1 2014: £2.6m)
Successful secondary capital raise in December 2014 raising £70m (gross) of new equity
Expensed R&D increased by 144 per cent to £2.6m (H1 2014: £1.1m)
£1.3m invested in building vaccine manufacturing capacity at Braintree and marine R&D facilities at Ardtoe
Operational highlights include:
Progress made on key strategic investment objectives:
Acquisition of Salmobreed and Stofnfiskur in December 2014, subsequent integration has been successful
Acquisition of Improve International in January 2015
Addition of sector specialists in aquaculture genetics and professional training increased head count to 330
Continued investment in scientific research and development resources, including the acquisition of two new products/technologies and expansion of the R&D team
Steps taken to mitigate increased challenge from generic competitors to Salmosan/Byelice
New sales strategy to reward loyalty and new long term volume supply contracts secured
Vaccine manufacturing expansion progressing:
rapid development of phase two, new antigen suite, now underway at Braintree to bring forward HypoCat production capability
Biocampus development team establishment and detailed design planning continues to advance
Development of HypoCat product continues on track with positive results from formulation trials
61 products in development pipeline with total addressable market of £603m (including HypoCat).  Launch of two products delayed but good overall progress achieved
Diagnostic labs in Thailand and Norway fully operational
Alex Hambro, chairman of Benchmark, said:  ‘Despite the adverse financial impact from aggressive generic competition to our Salmosan product line, mitigation measures have been successfully established, and the group has become strategically more robust through the creation of the new breeding and genetics division which is performing well.
‘The technical publishing division is now moving into profitability.  Continued and significant investment in R&D and our pipeline of new animal health products bodes well for the future growth and stability of the business.’