Challenging final quarter closes successful year for Måsøval

High salmon prices and record harvest volume boosted Måsøval revenues by 64% in 2022, but investments suspended until salmon tax is resolved.
Måsøval Aqua Semi project. Photo by: Øyvind Nordahl Næss / Måsøval.
Måsøval Aqua Semi project. Photo by: Øyvind Nordahl Næss / Måsøval.

Helge Kvalvik, Måsøval's newly-appointed CEO, today announced the Norwegian salmon producer Måsøval had increased its operating revenues by 64% compared to 2022, reaching just over NOK 1.9 billion.

The increase reflects significantly higher prices of salmon combined with higher harvest volume. The Group's operational EBIT for year 2022 was NOK 693 million, up 137% from 2021, while harvest volume increased by 30% from last year, reaching a total of 21,879 tonnes of gutted weight. The Group's Board of Directors proposed a dividend of 0.5 NOK per share​.

Q4 beset by biological problems and feed prices

However, performance in the fourth quarter was mixed. The group harvested 4483 tonnes of salmon in Q4 2022, achieving operating revenues of NOK 400 million, an increase of NOK 7 million from the same quarter last year. However, Måsøval's Q4 operational EBIT was NOK 44 million, a significant drop of almost 50% from NOK 89 million compared to the same period last year.

Kvalvik attributed the drop to "one-off effects" due to biological factors, saying high levels of both sea lice and prevalence of pancreatic disease together with higher feed prices had made it a "challenging quarter". Harvest losses due to biological problems cost Måsøval a total of NOK 33 million.

New resource tax is "ill-conceived", says CEO

Looking ahead to 2023, Kvalvik highlighted the Norwegian government's proposed ground-rent tax as a continued source of uncertainty.

Måsøval describes the measure as "as a special tax on aquaculture companies that today create value and employment in many small coastal societies in Norway", and warns about "significant negative repercussions for our suppliers and the coastal societies where we operate our business. We believe that this tax is ill-conceived and detrimental not only to the aquaculture business in Norway, but also to the future tax base for Norway."

Måsøval is "conservative in its approach to investments and will wait for a decision from the parliament before making further strategic investments," Kvalvik said. In the wake of the proposals, the group has cancelled or put on hold investments for approximately NOK 1.5 billion.

This includes its Aqua Semi project, Måsøval's trial of a semi-submersible, semi-enclosed salmon production unit. The concept was designed to open up new areas for salmon farming, reduce lice and disease contagion, improve fish health and lower operational costs. Kvalvik said the uncertainty over taxation has led the company to halt the project for now, although its licenses are still valid, and the company has the option of restarting the project until 2027.

Agreement with Froya Laks and restructuring ahead in 2023

Looking ahead to 2023, Måsøval has entered into a co-location agreement with Frøya Laks to operate their licenses of 2,433 tonnes MAB, allowing for 15% growth in capacity. The first smolt will put to sea in 2023 and the first harvest is expected in 2024. The group will also enter a process of restructuring following its 2021 acquisitions of Vartdal Gruppen and Pure Norwegian Seafood's Pure Farms.

The company says the market outlook for 2023 expects limited supply growth and high prices, with salmon prices are expected to remain strong throughout the year. Måsøval predicts a total harvest of 25,300 tonnes in 2023.

About Måsøval AS

Måsøval is an integrated producer of Atlantic salmon with more than 50 years of operational experience. Located in Central Norway in the region west of Trondheim, Måsøval has both significant farming operations at sea and inhouse smolt production. Through its majority ownership in the processing and distribution company Pure Norwegian Seafood AS, Måsøval processes and exports high quality Atlantic salmon to a global marketplace.

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