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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Lerøy Seafood Group ASA : Q3 2017 Results

Lerøy Seafood Group ASA    

Published: 06:30 CET 09-11-2017 /GlobeNewswire /Source: Lerøy Seafood Group ASA / : LSG /ISIN: NO0003096208

Lerøy Seafood Group ASA : Q3 2017 Results



In Q3 2017, Lerøy Seafood Group (LSG) reported operating profit before fair value adjustment related to biological assets of NOK 861 million in Q3 2017, compared with NOK 481 million in Q3 2016. This corresponds to operating profit before fair value adjustment related to biological assets for Q3 2017 of NOK 17.4 per kg against NOK 14.8 per kg in Q3 2016.

  • We have achieved the highest revenue and the highest operating profit ever to be reported by the Group in a third quarter, confirms CEO Henning Beltestad. We are pleased with such a good result, but there still remains plenty of room for improvement and this is where our focus lies," he continues.

The Group reported revenue of NOK 4,373 million in Q3 2017, compared with NOK 4,268 million in the same period in 2016. The Farming segment harvested a total of 46,000 tonnes gutted weight of salmon and trout in Q3 2017, up 45% from the same period in 2016. The Group's profit before tax and fair value adjustment related to biological assets was NOK 899 million in Q3 2017, compared with NOK 534 million in Q3 2016.

The Group reported revenue of NOK 14,057 million as of the third quarter 2017, an increase of 14% on the equivalent period last year. Operating profit before fair value adjustment related to biological assets was NOK 2,939 million as of Q3 2017, compared with NOK 1,826 million as of Q3 2016. The profit before tax and fair value adjustment related to biological assets as of Q3 2017 was NOK 3,033 million, compared with NOK 1,901 million for the same period last year.

At 30 September 2017, net interest-bearing debt was NOK 2,733 million and the equity ratio was 57%.



In October 2016, Lerøy Seafood Group obtained 100% ownership of both Havfisk ASA (Havfisk) and Norway Seafoods Group AS (now Lerøy Norway Seafoods - LNWS). As a result of this transaction, both companies were consolidated into Lerøy Seafood Group as of 1 September 2016 and these companies comprise the Wild Catch and Whitefish segment.

Havfisk's primary business is wild catches of whitefish. Havfisk has licence rights to harvest just above 10% of the total Norwegian cod quotas in the zone north of 62 degrees latitude, corresponding to more than 30% of the total quota allocated to the trawler fleet.

Havfisk's total catch volume in Q3 2017 was 17,029 tonnes, compared with 17,189 tonnes in Q3 2016. The catch volume in Q3 2017 comprised 7,662 tonnes of cod, 3,436 tonnes of saithe and 2,464 tonnes of haddock. The catch distribution in Q3 2016 was 8,592 tonnes of cod, 3,445 tonnes of saithe and 977 tonnes of haddock. When compared with Q3 2016, the prices for cod and haddock were up 2% and 26% respectively, while the price for saithe was down 26%. Remaining quotas for cod, haddock and saithe as of Q3 2017 are approximately 15,000 tonnes against approximately 12,000 tonnes in Q3 2016.

LNWS's primary business is processing wild-caught whitefish. The company has use of eight processing plants in Norway, five of which are leased from Havfisk. LNWS is the largest purchaser of cod from the coastal fishing fleet in Norway.

The total contribution to operating profit made by these two companies in Q3 2017 was NOK 62 million.

  • "We are looking forward to generating lasting values by developing the Wild Catch segment together with our employees both on and offshore," confirms CEO Henning Beltestad. "In order to succeed, we need good, predictable framework conditions, based on a fundamental understanding of what is required to create and sustain jobs and values," explains the CEO. "I have faith that the Norwegian authorities recognise this, and trust that they will now allow us to develop our business without interruption in the years to come," says Henning Beltestad.  



The Farming segment reported operating profit before fair value adjustment related to biological assets of NOK 715 million in Q3 2017, up from NOK 397 million in Q3 2016. As of Q3 2017, the harvest volume is 4% higher than in the corresponding period in 2016. The Group currently expects the total harvest volume in 2017 to be higher than in 2016. EBIT/kg increased from NOK 12.5 per kg in Q3 2016 to NOK 15.5 per kg in Q3 2017.

In Q3 2017, Lerøy Aurora achieved operational EBIT per kg of NOK 23.7. Lerøy Midt and Lerøy Sjøtroll are reporting EBIT per kg of NOK 14.7 and NOK 8.5 respectively for the same period.

  • "The lack of growth in production together with a positive development in demand and the weaker Norwegian krone have resulted in historically high prices for salmon," explains CEO Henning Beltestad. "Throughout Q3 2017, a seasonal increase in harvest volume in Norway has placed some pressure on the spot prices for salmon and trout. Prices in the quarter have therefore been on the decline," explains the CEO.
  • "The release from stock costs in Q3 2017 are in total on par with those from Q2 2017. We have a positive development in Central- and Northern Norway, but have been affected by an acute situation for salmon in the county of Hordaland," continues Henning Beltestad. "During the last part of the third quarter, some of our localities in Hordaland had difficulties that required action, including early harvest. This had a negative impact on profit in the quarter. By the start of Q4 2017, the situation was back to normal but the incident will, all other factors being equal, result in a somewhat lower volume at the end of the year and the start of 2018," says Henning Beltestad.



The VAPS&D segment reported revenue in Q3 2017 of NOK 4,289 million, up 8% when compared with the same period last year. Operating profit before fair value adjustment related to biological assets was up from NOK 90 million in Q3 2016 to NOK 111 million in Q3 2017. This provides an operating margin before fair value adjustment related to biological assets of 2.6% in Q3 2017.

  • The CEO confirms that the level of activity during the quarter has been good. He goes on to add: "The Group is very happy to have identified positive synergy effects within marketing as a result of the acquisitions made within whitefish."



The Norwegian fish farming industry, including LSG, is in a transitional phase with extraordinarily high direct and indirect costs, due to biological challenges, political decisions and regulations. Since 2013/4, the Group has made substantial investments in its own production of cleaner fish. The Group can now report very positive results with cleaner fish. However, as production and utilisation of cleaner fish remain in the early stages, further improvements are expected. The Group is also investing in other tools to optimise production, These include a significant increase in capacity for mechanical cleaning and fresh-water treatment in well boats. The challenge of excessive treatment of fish has not yet been solved, but developments in 2017 have been positive. This justifies an outlook for further improvements in production as we go forward into 2018. The significant, long-term investments made by the Group within several parts of the value chain shall ensure global competitiveness.

Developments within whitefish in 2017 have been positive, even though industrial development and processing of whitefish in Norway remain difficult. This situation is impacted by political framework conditions, but the Group has a clear ambition to increase competitiveness in and earnings from whitefish, with the prevailing conditions and by means of improved marketing and improvements to operational efficiency.

In 2017, the Group expects to harvest 176,000 GWT of salmon and trout, including its share of LSG's volume from associates and a catch volume of whitefish up towards 70,000 tonnes.

The Group currently estimates a total harvest volume for salmon and trout of approximately 180,500 GWT for 2018, including the share of LSG's volume from associates.

On 12 October 2017, the Norwegian-Russian fisheries commission stipulated total whitefish quotas for cod, haddock, Greenland halibut and redfish for 2018. The total quota for cod is down 13% and the reduction in quota for haddock is 12%. The quotas for Greenland halibut and redfish, however, are up 12.5% and just over 9% respectively. The advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) is for an increase of 15% for saithe north of 62 degrees latitude, and a 7% increase for saithe in the North Sea. The final quotas per vessel are stipulated in November and December 2017.

The Board currently estimates that earnings in Q4 2017 will be on par with earnings in Q3 2017, ensuring that the Group will achieve a record-high profit in 2017.

Questions and comments may be addressed to the company's CEO, Henning Beltestad, or to the CFO, Sjur S. Malm.

This information is subject of the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

Q3 2017 Report
Q3 2017 Presentation

This announcement is distributed by Nasdaq Corporate Solutions (One Liberty Plaza, 165 Broadway, New York, NY 10006. Tel: +1 212 401 8700. www.nasdaqomx.com) on behalf of Nasdaq Corporate Solutions clients. Source: Lerøy Seafood Group ASA, Pb. 7600, Bergen 5020, NORGE
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