(Figures in parenthesis refer to the same period last year unless otherwise specified)
The Group made a loss for Q4 2020 of DKK -37.7 million (DKK 219.5 million). For 2020, the profit was DKK 462.8 million (DKK 801.9 million).
Commenting on the result, CEO Regin Jacobsen said:
“This has been yet another quarter marked by the Covid-19 pandemic which has depressed the global market for salmon. The negative effects of the pandemic on the salmon market continued during this quarter when many countries experienced their second wave of Covid-19. This has been challenging to our customers as well as to intercontinental logistics. Especially the food service sector has been depressed while retail has developed strongly. Again, during this quarter we have benefited from our flexible value chain and diverted larger harvest volumes into our VAP segment, producing high-quality retail products. Despite the challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been able to maintain a high production during the whole of 2020, including Q4. Under such challenging market conditions, it is also positive that the industry – including Bakkafrost – has demonstrated financial resilience.
Our farming operation in the Faroe Islands has been strong in this quarter and the implementation of our large-smolt strategy is progressing above expectation. We are pleased to have announced our expected harvest volume target from 2021 which shows that our large investments past years are now beginning to materialise in growth as well as biological risk reduction.
In Scotland, the farming operation has been challenging in this quarter and during second half of the year. Historically, this has been a recurring pattern which we expect to be able to relieve going forward. We have learnt a lot during 2020 and have already made many improvements in the farming operation. However, the real game-changer will be when we have implemented our large-smolt strategy in Scotland. We are still firm in our belief that we will succeed in this turnaround of the operation in Scotland and look forward sharing more information about this on our Capital Markets Day 14-15th September 2021.
All in all, the global salmon market – measured in volume – has grown during the fourth quarter. The growth has been especially strong in the US and EU. We are hopeful about this development as this could contribute to a stronger market with even more consumers having an appetite for salmon, once the pandemic is behind us. With the vaccination progress that is being made in many countries, we expect that the salmon market will improve significantly during 2021."
Total harvested volumes for Q4 2020 were 25,262 tonnes gutted weight. FO: 15,957 tgw (17,930 tgw), SCT: 9,305 tgw (7,925). Total harvested volumes in 2020 were 85,686 tgw (65,109 tgw). FO: 50,700 tgw (57,184 tgw), SCT: 34,986 tgw (7,925).
In total, 9.4 million (10.7 million) smolts were transferred during Q4 2020. FO: 5.5 million (5.0 million), SCT: 3.9 million (5.7). For 2020, 24.6 million (18.3 million) smolts were transferred. FO: 14.3 million (12.7 million), SCT 10.3 million (5.7).
The combined FO farming and VAP segments made an operational EBIT of DKK 142.6 million (DKK 374.9 million) in Q4 2020. The operational EBIT per kg in Q4 2020 was DKK 8.94 (DKK 20.91), which corresponds to NOK 12.92 (NOK 28.25) for the combined FO farming and VAP segments. For 2020, the combined FO farming and VAP segments made an operational EBIT of DKK 587.5 million (DKK 1,166.7 million).
The FO farming segment made an operational EBIT of DKK 62.5 million (DKK 338.3 million) in Q4 2020. The harvested volumes were lower, and the achieved prices were lower in Q4 2020, compared to Q4 2019. For 2020, the operational EBIT was DKK 447.8 million (DKK 1,103.0 million).
The SCT farming segment made an operational EBIT of DKK -54.1 million (DKK 18.1 million) in Q4 2020. For 2020, the operational EBIT was DKK -24.0 million (DKK 18.1 million). Costs of DKK 39 million relate to incident-based mortality in Q4 2020.
The VAP segment made an operational EBIT of DKK 80.1 million (DKK 36.6 million) for Q4 2020. For 2020, the operational EBIT was DKK 139.7 million (DKK 63.7 million).
The FOF segment (fishmeal, oil and feed) made an EBITDA of DKK 48.1 million (DKK 57.7 million) for Q4 2020, and the EBITDA margin was 13.4% (17.1%). The EBITDA was DKK 207.7 million for 2020 (DKK 275.8 million), corresponding to an EBITDA margin of 14.6% (19.9%).
During Q4 2020, Havsbrún sourced 71,887 tonnes (35,180 tonnes) of raw material, and in 2020, Havsbrún sourced 283,307 tonnes (278,664 tonnes) of raw material.
The Group has been impacted by the market disruption from Covid-19 from late Q1 2020.
The net interest-bearing debt amounted to DKK 1,752.8 million at the end of Q4 2020, compared to DKK 1,018.7 million at year-end 2019. Undrawn credit facilities amounted to DKK 1,677 million at the end of Q4 2020.
The long-term goal of the Board of Directors is that 30-50% of earnings per share shall be paid out as dividend. Bakkafrost’s financial position is strong with a solid balance sheet, a competitive operation and available credit facilities. The Board of Directors proposes to the Annual General Meeting that DKK 3.65 (NOK 5.01*) per share shall be paid out as dividend. The Annual General Meeting will be convened on Friday the 9th of April 2021.
The equity ratio was 66% at 31 December 2020, compared to 65% at the end of 2019.
* The dividend per share in NOK is subject to changes depending on the exchange rate between NOK and DKK, which will be announced after the Annual General Meeting.
The global harvest of Atlantic salmon was 10.8% higher in Q4 2020, compared to Q4 2019, according to the latest estimate from Kontali Analyse. The market was affected negatively by the market disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Looking forward the market dynamics will still be affected by the Covid-19 situation which imposes greater than normal uncertainty to the market development estimates. However, market conditions could improve during 2021 as Covid-19 mass-vaccination progresses in key markets. In Q1 2021, the global harvest of Atlantic salmon is expected to increase around 4%, compared to Q1 2020. In 2021, the global harvest of salmon is expected to increase around 2-3%, compared to 2020. Due to the effects of inventory movements, the market supply of salmon in 2021 is expected to increase around 5-6%, compared to 2020.
The increase in supply of salmon in 2021 is mainly expected to occur during the first half of the year. During the second half of 2021, the global supply of salmon is expected to be tight due to the growth in global harvest volumes being forecasted below 1%, according to Kontali Analyse.
Bakkafrost operates in the main salmon markets, Europe, USA, the Far East and Russia. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused global market disruptions and a shift from foodservice to retail. These changes will remain for some time. However, some normalisation of the market situation is expected during 2021. It is uncertain what “new normal” the market will settle at, once the Covid-19 pandemic has passed. During the pandemic, new and innovative business models have emerged, especially in food service, and it is not unlikely that some of these are here to stay. Due to our highly flexible value chain, Bakkafrost is well positioned to adapt to these changes. Bakkafrost also maintains a strong focus on ensuring a well-balanced flow to the different markets to increase diversification and mitigate the market risk.
Overall, the biological performance of the harvested fish in the Faroe Islands has been strong during Q4 2020. The growth has been strong with very low feed conversion ratio. The quality of the harvested fish has improved even more and is exceptionally high. Mortality, mainly linked to sea lice treatments, has been somewhat higher than normal and this is an area of priority for 2021.
The average size of transferred smolt continues to increase in the Faroe Islands, and Bakkafrost is well on track in pursuing the large-smolt strategy. In Q4 2020, the average weight of the transferred smolt was 343g and is expected to increase to around 400g in 2021 and 500g in 2022. The main driver behind this development is the massively increased production capacity delivered by the Strond hatchery which is in full operation producing large and high-quality smolts. To add further capacity, expansion of the existing hatcheries at Norðtoftir and Glyvradalur have commenced. As these expansions are made to already existing hatcheries, the increased production output will be available already in 2022, enabling Bakkafrost to produce 20 million smolts of 500g in the Faroe Islands.
The farming operation in Scotland is gradually improving, however the second half of the year is in general a more challenging period in the Scottish farming operation. In Q4 2020, the mortality has been exceptionally high in some farming sites. Challenging 3rd and 4th quarters may be expected for the next couple of years or so but with gradually reduced severity as the large-smolt strategy is being implemented in the Scottish farming operation. Once fully implemented, the large-smolt strategy will be a game changer for the farming operation. To achieve this, Bakkafrost plans to invest in 3 large hatcheries in the coming years to become self-sufficient with large smolts.
Bakkafrost focuses on reducing biological risk continuously and has over the past years made significant investments to diminish this risk, but also to improve efficiency and ensures sustainable growth. The large-smolt strategy occupies a central role in this in the Faroe Islands as well as in Scotland.
Bakkafrost expects to release around 14.5 million smolts in 2021 in the Faroe Islands, compared to 14.3 million smolts in 2020, 12.7 million smolts in 2019 and 12.6 million smolts in 2018. The smolt release in Scotland is expected to be 11.0 million smolts in 2021, compared to 10.4 million smolts in 2020, 12.4 million smolts in 2019 and 8.6 million smolts in 2018. The number and average weight of smolts released are key elements of predicting Bakkafrost’s future production.
Bakkafrost’s harvest volumes for 2021 in the Faroe Islands are expected to be 66,000 tonnes gutted weight and 40,000 tonnes gutted weight in Scotland. Hence the total harvest volume is expected to be 106,000 tonnes gutted weight, compared with 85,686 tonnes harvested in 2020.
The estimates for harvest volumes and smolt releases in both geographies are dependent on the biological development.
VAP (Value Added Products)
Bakkafrost has made large investments in building a highly flexible value chain which includes a state-of-the-art VAP factory with high capacity. This enables Bakkafrost to adapt well to the rapidly changing market situations, which is a great advantage during market disruptions as the one seen during the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the flexibility and large capacity of the VAP factory, Bakkafrost has been able to meet the significantly increased demand from the retail segment by redirecting volumes into the VAP segment.
For 2021 Bakkafrost has signed contracts covering around 28% of the expected harvest volumes in the Faroe Islands and Scotland combined. Bakkafrost’s long-term strategy is to sell around 40% of the harvested volumes of salmon as VAP products at contracts.
The contracts are at fixed prices, based on the salmon forward prices at the time they are agreed and the expectations for the salmon spot price for the contract period. The contracts last for 6 to 12 months.
FOF (Fishmeal, Oil and Feed)
The outlook for the production of fishmeal and fish oil is dependent on the availability of raw material.
The ICES 2021 recommendation for blue whiting is 929 thousand tonnes, which is a 20% reduction from the recommendation for 2020. As of 30. December 2020 the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has suspended the certification of all Atlanto-Scandian blue whiting. During 2020, Bakkafrost has built up inventory of certified fish meal to ensure continued ASC-certification of the Faroese farming sites in 2021.
Bakkafrost expects a decrease in production volumes of fishmeal and fish oil in 2021, compared to 2020. Havsbrún’s sales of fish feed for 2021 is expected to be 120,000 tonnes, depending on external sales.
The major market for Havsbrún´s fish feed is the local Faroese market, including Bakkafrost FO’s internal use of fish feed, and the feed used in the Scottish farming operation.
Bakkafrost’s investment programme for the period from 2020 to 2022 in the Faroe Islands, will amount to around DKK 1.8 billion, including maintenance capex, and will reinforce Bakkafrost’s integrated business model and ensure a capacity across the value chain to be able to produce 100,000 tonnes gutted weight of salmon in the Faroe Islands. The aim of the investment programme is to minimize the biological risk, increase efficiency and create sustainable organic growth. Bakkafrost’s focus on producing larger smolts plays a key role in achieving this goal.
All in all, Bakkafrost is on track with the investment programme. The hatchery at Strond is finalized, and the expansion of the hatcheries at Norðtoftir and Glyvradalur has commenced. As these expansions are made to existing hatcheries in operation, the added capacity will materialize in increased output sooner, compared to if they were greenfield projects. Hence the increased production from these hatcheries will emerge from early 2022.
In Q2 2020, Bakkafrost commissioned a new 7,000 m3 well boat with hybrid technology to reduce the carbon emission and ensure optimal energy consumption. The vessel will be delivered in H1 2022 and will play an important role in Bakkafrost’s large-smolt strategy and plans to grow beyond 100,000 tonnes in the Faroe Islands with offshore farming, as well as adding freshwater treatment capacity.
Bakkafrost’s recently finished Biogas plant is an important stepping-stone on Bakkafrost’s sustainable growth path, as it delivers an efficient and sustainable solution to waste management. By converting the growing biological waste from the increasing operation into clean energy, the biogas plant alone is expected to save the environment from 11,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The Biogas plant is now operational, supplying electricity into the Faroese electricity grid as well as providing heating for the residents in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands.
In addition to the planned investments in the value chain in the Faroe Islands, Bakkafrost expects to make investments of around DKK 350-400 million per year for 2020-2024 in the Scottish operation. A significant part of this will be invested in building 3 large hatcheries to increase smolt capacity and become self-sufficient with large smolt. The first of these hatcheries will be the Applecross hatchery, which is being expanded and equipped with RAS technology. Other suitable sites for the next 2 large hatcheries are currently being investigated.
Investments have also been made in expansion of the harvest capacity in Scotland to increase the flexibility of the operation and accommodate the increased harvest volumes expected in coming years.
Bakkafrost has announced that a Capital Market Day will be held on 14-15 September 2021, where more details on the investment plan for the Faroe Islands and Scotland will be presented.
Despite the uncertainties imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, long term market balances in the world market for salmon products will most likely remain favourable for Bakkafrost. Bakkafrost has a long value chain and a cost-efficient production of high-quality salmon products and will likely maintain the financial flexibility going forward.
During Q4 2019, Bakkafrost refinanced its bank facilities amounting to 352 mEUR with a further accordion option of 150 mEUR. In addition, bank facilities amounting to 100 mGBP were ensured to refinance The Scottish Salmon Company.
A high equity ratio together with Bakkafrost’s bank financing, makes Bakkafrost’s financial situation strong. This enables Bakkafrost to carry out its investment plans in the Faroe Islands as well as in Scotland, hereby strengthening the Group, enabling M&A’s and organic growth opportunities as well as to fulfil its unchanged dividend policy in the future.
Please find the Company’s Q4 2020 report and the Q4 2020 presentation enclosed.
Regin Jacobsen, CEO of P/F Bakkafrost: +298 235001 (mobile)
Høgni Dahl Jakobsen, CFO of P/F Bakkafrost: +298 235060 (mobile)
This information is subject of the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.
Bakkafrost is the largest salmon farmer in the Faroe Islands and the second largest salmon farmer in Scotland. The Group is fully integrated from feed production to smolt, farming, VAP and sales. The Group has production of fishmeal, fish oil and salmon feed in Fuglafjørður (Faroe Islands). The Group has primary processing in Glyvrar and Vágur (Faroe Islands), and secondary processing (VAP) in Glyvrar (Faroe Islands). The Group operates sea farming in Norðoyggjar, Eysturoy, Streymoy and Suðuroy (Faroe Islands) and in Scotland. The Group has broodstock operations in Streymoy and Sandoy (Faroe Islands) and in Scotland. The Group has a biogas plant in Streymoy (Faroe Islands). The headquarter is located in Glyvrar (Faroe Islands) and has sales and administration offices in Grimsby (UK), Edinburgh (Scotland) and in New Jersey (US). The Bakkafrost Group has 1,699 employees (full-time equivalents).
NOT FOR RELEASE, PUBLICATION OR DISTRIBUTION, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN AUSTRALIA, CANADA, JAPAN OR THE UNITED STATES.
This press release does not constitute or form part of an offer or solicitation to purchase or subscribe for securities. The securities referred to herein may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration as provided in the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Copies of this announcement are not being made and may not be distributed or sent into the United States, Australia, Canada or Japan.