Strong biology after a challenging year

Strong biology after a challenging year



Financial report:

Bakkafrost recorded revenues of DKK 1,562 million in the fourth quarter, compared with DKK 1,940 million in the corresponding quarter of 2022. Operational EBIT was DKK 356 in the quarter. The full-year revenues in 2023 were DKK 7.1 billion, operational EBIT of DKK 1.5 billion, and harvest volumes of 73,000 tonnes

(Figures in parenthesis refer to the same period last year unless otherwise specified)

The performance in Q4 2023 per region was very uneven:

  • Faroe Islands          Revenues of DKK 1,478 million (1,641 million)

                                         Operational EBIT of DKK 460 million (525 million)

  • Scotland                  Revenues of DKK 84 million (298 million) 

                                         Operational EBIT of DKK -104 million (-149 million)

Commenting on the result, CEO Regin Jacobsen said:

“Bakkafrost delivered strong results in the fourth quarter 2023 with improved operating margin. Markets have been strong, with high demand in all regions. Bakkafrost salmon was well appreciated with good premium in the market, especially strong development in North America, which increased to 25% of the salmon from Bakkafrost Faroe Islands.

I am proud of the progresses from the high focus on fish health and welfare in the Bakkafrost’s operation in the Faroe Islands, which have resulted in a very robust and strong farming regime. The average monthly survivability for the full year was 99,39% with average harvest weight of 4.6 kg HOG and 90% superior grade. In Scotland our journey to robust operation is still in progress – last year the monthly survivability was 98,29% with average harvest weight of 4.2 kg HOG and 89% superior grade.

After a troublesome third quarter in Scotland with biological challenges – the fourth quarter gave opportunities with good biological development to grow the fish, resulting therefore in reduced harvest volumes, concentrating on growing into H1 2024 to larger sizes.”


During Q4 2023, the FOF segment sourced 53,552 tonnes (46,051 tonnes) of raw material. The Operational EBITDA margin was 25% (14%), and fish feed sales amounted to 39,354 tonnes (32,600 tonnes).


For the full year 2023, the FOF segment’s operational EBITDA margin was 23% (18%). During the full year 2023, Havsbrún sourced 467,037 tonnes (297,814 tonnes) of raw material.



In Q4 2023, the Freshwater segments in the Faroe Islands and Scotland released a total of 6.8 million (8.5 million) smolts combined:

·         Freshwater FO: 5.1 million (5.0 million),

·         Freshwater SCT: 1.7 million (3.5 million).


In 2023, the freshwater segments have released a total of 23.2 (25.4) million smolts:

·         Freshwater FO:  14.2 million (14.4 million),

·         Freshwater SCT: 9.0 million (11.0 million).


In Q4 2023, the Freshwater FO segment made an operational EBIT per kg released smolt of 26.75 DKK/kg (34.55 DKK/kg), corresponding to 41.78 NOK/kg (48.26 NOK/kg). The Freshwater SCT segment made an operational EBIT per kg released smolt of -49.44 DKK/kg (-20.60 DKK/kg), corresponding to -77.23 NOK/kg (-28.77 NOK/kg).


The Farming segments achieved higher prices in Q4 2023 than in Q4 2022. Both Farming FO and Farming Scotland segments had lower harvest volume in Q4 2023 compared to Q4 2022. In Q4 2023, the Farming SCT segment had incident-based costs of DKK 48 million (DKK 83 million).


The total combined harvest in Q4 2023 of the farming segments in the Faroe Islands and Scotland was 17,067 tonnes gutted weight (24,474 tgw):

·         Farming FO:          16,005 tgw (19,276 tgw),

·         Farming SCT:        1,062 tgw (5,198 tgw).


In 2023, the farming segments have harvested a total of 73,006 tonnes gutted weight (90,603):

·         Farming FO:          52,408 tgw (66,686 tgw),

·         Farming SCT:        20,598 tgw (23,917 tgw).



In Q4 2023, the Farming FO segment made an operational EBIT/kg of 4.01 DKK/kg (13.19 DKK/kg), corresponding to 6.27 NOK/kg (18.43 NOK/kg). The Farming SCT segment made an operational EBIT/kg of -44.97 DKK/kg (-32.64 DKK/kg), corresponding to -70.24 NOK/kg (-45.60 NOK/kg).


The Services segment made an operational EBIT/kg of 0.76 DKK/kg (0.05 DKK/kg), corresponding to 1.18 NOK/kg (0.06 NOK/kg). The operational EBIT margin for the segment was 7% (1%).


The Sales & Other segment had a revenue of DKK 2,355 million (2,385 million) and an operational EBIT margin of 4% (4%). The operational EBIT/kg was 5.94 DKK/kg (4.33 DKK/kg), corresponding to 9.27 NOK/kg (6.05 NOK/kg).


The performance according to the previously used business segment structure can be found in the Appendix.


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 8.70 (NOK 13.26*) per share shall be paid out as dividend. The Annual General Meeting will be convened on Tuesday the 30th of April 2024.


* 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.





Stable supply in Q4 2023

The supply of salmon increased slightly by 0.3% in Q4 2023 compared to Q4 2022, incl. inventory movements. Without inventory movements, the supply reduced 1.8%, according to the latest estimate from Kontali Analyse.

Stable salmon prices in Q4 2023

Salmon spot prices (in EUR) were 0.2% lower this quarter compared to Q4 2022. Prices in Q4 2023 were affected by the nearly unchanged supply and strong demand for salmon from certain markets such as the China and the US.

2% growth in 2024

No growth in global supply is expected for H1 2024. In H2 2024, the global supply is expected to grow around 4%, compared to H2 2023. For the full year 2024, the global supply is expected grow around 2%, excluding inventory movements.

Bakkafrost has a strong focus on ensuring a well-balanced flow to the different markets to increase diversification and mitigate market risk. Bakkafrost operates in the main salmon markets, Europe, the USA, and the Far East. Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Bakkafrost has stopped all trading with Russia.



The farming operation in the Faroe Islands performed well in the fourth quarter. The new wellboat Bakkafossur, equipped with dual freshwater treament systems, has greatly enhanced sealice management and resulted in the lowest sealice levels ever. The average harvest weights, growht rates and feed conversion rates also got better during the quarter, especially after October when the last fish from the batch of smolt impaired by reduced hatchery water quality, as mentioned in Q3 2023, were harvested out. Looking ahead, the Faroese farming operation has a strong outlook and Bakkafrost expects to keep increasing harvest weights and improving farming KPI’s in the next quarters.

In the Faroese freshwater operation, Bakkafrost has been working intensively for a long time to improve the production of large smolt, which is more complicated. The quality and performance of the large smolt have improved a lot since the first generation came from the Strond hatchery. The large-smolt production is moving into a phase focusing on maintaining consistent size and high quality of the smolt while increasing production volumes. The Norðtoftir, Glyvradal and Viðareiði hatcheries have been expanded which gave a capacity increase of more than 50% and the production and capacity utilisation are now growing steadily. In Q4 2023, Bakkafrost signed a contract to build a big new hatchery in Skálavík, Faroe IsIands, which will increase the production capacity by around 7 million smolt at 500g. The construction will begin in Q1 2024 and when it is finished in the next three years, the annual smolt production capacity in the Faroe Islands will be 24 million smolts of 500g, as explained in the 2024-2028 investment programme.

Bakkafrost’s farming operation in Scotland faced difficulties during the fall when the seawater temperatures were higher and biological hazards also rise. The salmon farming industry in Scotland has suffered from major problems in recent years mainly because of micro-jellyfish and other factors that damage the gill health of the fish. However, Bakkafrost’s farming operation has seen better biology since mid-September 2023, resulting in lower mortality. The increased freshwater dual treatment capacity in Scotland is a key factor by improving fish gill health while also keeping sealice levels record low. This has reduced the potential impact of the biological challenges during Q4 2023. Consequently, to leverage the improved biological development, Bakkafrost minimised Q4 2023 harvest volume, allowing fish to grow larger for harvest at higher harvest weights and value in 2024.

In order to address the biological risks, Bakkafrost has made strategic adjustments to its short-term plans and production strategy for the Scottish farming operation. A comprehensive risk assessment has been conducted for all farming sites, evaluating the feasibility of stocking and farming these sites using various strains, hatcheries, and smolt sizes. Based on this evaluation, Bakkafrost will prioritise and advance the utilisation of large, high-quality smolt from the Applecross hatchery over external sources. Consequently, Applecross will supply nearly all of the required smolt to the marine sites in 2024.

Some farming sites may not be restocked or remain productive during Q3 until the risks have been mitigated through the use of large, high-quality smolt. This approach will reduce the biomass at risk in Q3 and result in around 70% of the 2024 harvest volume being harvested in the first half of the year.

The Scottish freshwater operation is focused to grow the production of big and healthy smolt at Applecross, after the first trial-batch of 250g smolt was released in May 2023. In 2024, Applecross is expected to supply 9.1 million smolts at 200-250g, which will make up 98% of the planned smolt release for 2024.  When the Applecross 5 & 6 expansions are completed around year-end 2024, Applecross will be able to produce all smolts for Scotland at around 200-300g. As shown in the Faroe Islands, big and healthy smolt will face lower risks in the marine environment because of shorter production cycles in the sea and more robust salmon. In Q4 2023, the average weight of released smolt in Scotland was 113g, which is 2% lower than in Q4 2022.


Smolt release

Bakkafrost has guided for a smolt release in the Faroe Islands of around 17.8 million large smolts in 2024. In Scotland, the smolt release in 2024 is expected to be around 9.3 million smolts with an average weight over 200g. The number and average weight of smolts released are key elements of predicting Bakkafrost’s future production.


Million smolt transferred





















Avg. weight (g)






















In the freshwater hatchery operation, Bakkafrost has a focus on ensuring stable growth and continuous improvements of smolt quality. In the Faroes Islands, it is important to harmonise the size and quality of the smolt as it leads to better utilisation of marine farming sites and increased harvest weights.

In 2024, Bakkafrost expects to harvest around 66,000 tonnes gutted weight in the Faroe Islands and 25,000 tonnes gutted weight in Scotland, giving a total of around 91,000 tonnes gutted weight. The quarterly harvest profile is outlined in in the table below. Biological, environmental and market conditions can affect the expected harvest profile.


Expected harvest profile as a % of total harvest pr. region
















The estimates for harvest volumes and smolt releases in both geographies are dependent on biological development.


Sales & VAP (Value added products)

Bakkafrost's highly flexible value chain includes state-of-the-art VAP processing capacity, which enables the company to adapt effectively to rapidly changing market situations.

As a result of changes in the Faroese revenue tax, Bakkafrost has adjusted the strategy for contracted VAP (Value-Added Products) to reduce contract exposure for 2024. 

For 2024, Bakkafrost has signed contracts covering around 9% of the expected harvest volumes in the Faroe Islands and Scotland combined.


FOF (Fishmeal, oil and feed)

The outlook of fishmeal and fish oil production is dependent on the availability of raw materials.

The ICES 2024 recommendation for blue whiting is 1,530 thousand tonnes, which represents a 12.5% increase from the recommendation for 2023.

In 2024 Bakkafrost expects continued high production volumes of fishmeal and normalisation of fish oil production volumes.

The major markets for Havsbrún’s fish feed are the internal Faroese and Scottish Farming segments.



On the Capital Markets Day on 6 June 2023, Bakkafrost announced a 6.3bn DKK investment plan for 2024-2028. The investments will enable a transformation of the operation in Scotland and provide sustainable growth in the Faroe Islands as well as Scotland.

The main purpose of the investments in Scotland is to replicate Bakkafrost’s successful operation in the Faroe Islands. Bakkafrost considers building 2 large energy-efficient hatcheries in Scotland, enabling the implementation of Bakkafrost’s large smolt strategy and giving an annual production capacity above 15 million smolts at 500g. Having large smolt in Scotland will transform the performance, lower the biological risk and increase harvest volumes. In addition to building hatchery capacity, Bakkafrost plans to build a new processing plant to strengthen processing capabilities and increase flexibility in operation. Bakkafrost will also invest in more service vessel capacity to improve the mitigation of biological risk and improve the cost of operation. Further, Bakkafrost will make investments in marine site development.

The investments in the Faroe Islands include increasing annual hatchery production capacity to around 24 million smolts at 500g, cost-efficient repurposing of old hatcheries into broodstock operation, expansion of feed production capacity and growing sustainably by optimization of existing sites and new technology.

With the investment plan, Bakkafrost expects to sustainably grow the total annual harvest volumes to 165,000 tonnes in 2028. Over the same period, the total annual production capacity in Bakkafrost’s value chain will reach 200,000 tonnes gutted weight.


Please find the Company’s Q4 2023 report and the Q4 2023 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.


About Bakkafrost:

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 the Faroe Islands and primary and secondary processing in the Faroe Islands, Scotland and Denmark. The Group operates sea farming and broodstock operations in both the Faroe Islands and Scotland. The Group has built a biogas plant in the Faroe Islands. The headquarter is located in the Faroe Islands, and the Group has sales and administration offices in Grimsby (UK), Edinburgh (Scotland), Boulogne-Sur-Mer (France), New Jersey (US) and Munkebo (DK). The Bakkafrost Group has 1,778 employees (full-time equivalents).



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.

Press Contacts:
Regin Jacobsen CEO
+298 23 50 01