Mowi today announced that the first three months of 2023 was its best quarter ever, with Scotland continuing to make steady improvement from earlier biological challenges.
As previously reported in the Q1 update last month, the group achieved an operating profit of €322m (£280m), up from €207m (£180m) during the first quarter of last year.
The Scottish division more than doubled its operational EBIT or profit from €10.7m (£9.3m) in Q1 last year to €26.6m (£23m) this time.
Mowi said: “The overall price achieved (in Scotland) was 1% below the reference price in the quarter (3% below).
“ As a result of high spot prices, contribution from contracts relative to the reference price was negative in the first quarter of both 2023 and 2022. The contract share was 66% in the quarter (77%).”
“The first quarter harvest volume was 11,373 tonnes gutted weight, which was somewhat up from 10,541 tonnes in the comparable quarter, on utilisation of Mowi Scotland’s increased production capacity.”
Harvesting was held back to capitalise on improved biological conditions in order to build biomass.
Mowi said feed costs per kg in Scotland were negatively impacted by previous biological challenges in addition to increased feed prices during the last year.
“Other seawater costs were somewhat improved while non-seawater costs were stable. Incident-based mortality of €1.0m (£870,000) (€4.9m or £4.2m) was recognised in the quarter related to winter sores and AGD [amoebic gill disease].
“Sea water temperatures had shown a slower seasonal decline than in most previous years and consequently AGD has remained challenging during the winter months.”
Speaking about the group’s global performance, Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim said: “The first quarter of 2023 was characterised by seasonally record-high salmon prices due to reduced global supply and good demand.
“High prices and stellar operational performance by my 11 500 colleagues in 25 countries across the world made the first quarter Mowi’s best quarter ever. “Compared with the first quarter last year, we are performing better on almost all indicators.
Mowi harvested 103,000 tonnes salmon in the quarter, above guidance of 98,000 tonnes. In 2022 Mowi harvested 464 000 tonnes, a record-high level at the time, and Mowi expects to grow this further in 2023 to 484,000 tonnes.
CEO Vindheim continued: “Mowi’s goal is to continue to capture market share in the salmon category in the coming years by growing our farming volumes, both organically and acquisitively.”
“Mowi Consumer Products had another solid quarter, delivering seasonally record-high results on outstanding operational performance and continuing to achieve good sales to retail, partly helped by Easter and Lent season.
“Mowi’s branding activities continue unabated with the MOWI brand now present in 18 countries; we are focused on continuing to grow with our customers, with the ultimate goal of de-commoditising the salmon category.
“Mowi Feed’s sold volumes were a record-high for a first quarter on continued strong growth in sea.”
“Our feed continues to perform very well with both feed consumption and net growth above industry benchmark levels. Although the start of the year is low season for feed operations, this business area delivered seasonally record-high operational earnings,” Vindheim said.
Speaking about Norway proposed salmon tax, he added: “This is completely disproportionate and not compatible with the Norwegian Government’s stated growth ambitions for the industry. If passed by Parliament, the new tax regime will be hugely detrimental to the Norwegian aquaculture industry,” Vindheim warned.
Mowi’s Board has decided to pay a quarterly dividend of NOK 2.00 per share.