Friday, May 26, 2017

26/05/2017: Benchmark sign joint venture agreement with SalMar ASA

Benchmark logo: image courtesy of Benchmark Holdings PLC
 Benchmark, the aquaculture biotechnology and food chain sustainability business, announces that group performance for the six months to 31 March 2017 was broadly in line with the board's expectations. 

Highlights of the first year include: 

  • Benchmark signed a joint venture agreement with SalMar ASA, through which it will provide genetics, health and knowledge services to the world's third largest salmon producer. This is an important acknowledgement of Benchmark's technology, and exemplifies its strategy to provide a suite of technology solutions to the aquaculture industry. 
  • Construction of the group's new salmon egg production facility in Norway continued on schedule. This important development will underpin Benchmark breeding and genetics' market leading position in the sector. 
  • Good progress was made in advanced animal nutrition towards the goal of delivering 100 percent live replacement for feeding juvenile shrimp, a key to unlocking future growth potential for the industry. 
  • As anticipated, the Animal Health division saw significantly lower demand for Salmosan in Norway due to an industry focus of new solutions to the significant sea lice challenge. 
  • Good progress was made towards the commercial field trials launch of a ground-breaking sea lice treatment. Significant revenues from this product are anticipated in H2 and beyond, which are projected to support the achievements of the board's expectations for FY 2017 following the challenging first half for Salmosan.
  • The new state of the art vaccine manufacturing facility in Braintree is being commissioned and first commercial batches are expected in H2. 
 In the shrimp sector, disease challenge coupled with low market prices resulted in delayed sector investment and lower growth rates in the first half year. The group has proceeded cautiously with new investments, whilst continuing to progress core infrastructure projects which support long term growth. 

 The group is seeking to grow sales and market share in developing markets, including China, for its breeding and genetics and advanced animal nutrition divisions, and is progressing towards establishing strategic relationships in those regions. Further progress has been made with the development of the group wide customer account management programme, which will promote the full benefit of Benchmark's integrated technology solutions in aquaculture. 

 The long term drivers of growth in the Company's sectors, which include the growing global demand for aquaculture products and an ever increasing pressure to limit the use of antibiotics in the food chain, remain strong, with increasing momentum and interest in the aquaculture market. The company continues to focus on delivery of its strategy to deploy leading technologies drawn from across the group, through established distribution channels, into long-term growth markets. 

 Benchmark expects to announce its interim results for the six months to March 31, 2017 during the week commencing June 26, 2017. 

Commenting on trading, Benchmark's Chief Executive Officer, Malcolm Pye, remarked, "The agreement with SalMar is an example of the value we can deliver to our customers by aggregating leading technologies to provide integrated solutions to the issues faced by the food production industry. There are a number of technologies in the later stages of development that we are particularly excited about, and we look forward to delivering these, through our distribution networks, including into the significant Asian and Latin American shrimp and tilapia markets." 

Visit their website here. 

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