Marine technology business OTAQ achieved revenue growth in 2021/22 but recorded a loss for the same period as questions continue over whether its seal scaring devices will be allowed to operate in some major markets.
Based in the UK and Chile, OTAQ supplies international customers including aquaculture, renewables and offshore energy. For the 12 months to 31 March 2022, OTAQ reported revenue up 5.9% to £4.29m, thanks partly to acquisitions and new technology which have strengthened the company in new sectors such as shrimp farming.
Gross profits were down to £2.03m, however (2020/21: £2.3m) and adjusted EBITDA showed a loss of £49,000 compared with a profit of £524,000 in the previous period.
The company’s net debt was £1.27m (200/21: net cash £670,000).
OTAQ said growth was strong in the Offshore, Connectors and Technology Divisions. During the period, the company acquired Minnowtech LLC, which has developed technology to monitor shrimp biomass, and also took a 10% stake in Blue Lion Labs, a Canadian data management and software company focused on monitoring harmful organisms in water.
Meanwhile, however, the regulators’ position on acoustic deterrent devices, particularly in the key salmon producing markets of Scotland and Chile, has hit profits in OTAQ’s Aquaculture division.
OTAQ hopes that its new live plankton analysis system for detecting harmful algal blooms will prove a new source of revenue.
Phil Newby, Chief Executive at OTAQ, said: “Product innovation is at the core of OTAQ’s ability to partner with clients to maximise welfare and production yields, continually broadening our portfolio of complementary products. The addition of technologies in shrimp sonar, live plankton analysis systems and water quality monitoring now give OTAQ and its customers a new level of analysis and responsiveness in managing stocks and improving performance.
“Many of these products have been well received in the Chilean and Scottish markets, with early indications of commercial success, which is central to the Group’s growth strategy.
“Development of new products and the flourishing performance from the Offshore and Connectors divisions gives the directors confidence that the Group can return to profitable growth.”