The Kingfish Company: 2023 was a "pivotal year"

The Netherlands land-based yellowtail kingfish farmer looks back on a year of achievements, completing Phase 2 expansion, with "outstanding biological performance" and "record biomass growth".
Vincent Erenst, CEO of The Kingfish Company.
Vincent Erenst, CEO of The Kingfish Company. Photo: WeAreAquaculture.

The Kingfish Company has reported significant progress and achievements in its 2023 financial results, marking it as a "pivotal year" for future growth.

“Looking back on 2023, I am pleased to announce several significant achievements. Our Phase 2 expansion has been successfully completed, setting the stage for continued growth. The record biomass growth and outstanding biological performance of our fish have exceeded expectations," said Vincent Erenst, CEO of The Kingfish Company, announcing the results.

"Looking ahead, we see potential to further enhance our operations through efficiencies and economies of scale. Our primary focus remains on accelerating sales growth while simultaneously improving operational efficiency. We are looking forward to an exciting and prosperous future,” Erenst added.

Record biomass growth in 2023

In 2023, the company successfully completed its Phase 2 expansion and achieved record biomass growth of 2,195 tons, a 45% increase from the previous year.

The Kingfish Company attributes this success to the "remarkable efficiency of our expanded facilities", and says this enabled the company to "[maintain] our position as an industry leader with a growth rate of 0.76 kg per cubic meter per day".

The Netherland-based farm introduced improved feed formulations and is now fully stocked with its highest-performing third generation fish, which the company says demonstrate "a reduction in the growth cycle to 3kg by up to two months".

Financial landscape for The Kingfish Company in 2023

Despite stable sales volume due to capacity constraints in early 2023, the company saw a 17% increase in revenue, amounting to €21.9 million. This was aided by a 15% rise in revenue per kilogram of yellowtail sold, reaching €15.1. The improved revenue metrics can be attributed to a favorable size mix and robust demand in key markets, particularly for fresh Dutch Yellowtail.

While operational EBITDA per kg sold remained steady at €-2.7, The Kingfish Company also experienced a significant enhancement in gross margin per kg sold, which soared by 54% to €2.9. This improvement reflected not only increased production volumes but also gains from operational efficiencies and innovative feed formulations that reduced the Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR).

Operating cash flow for 2023 was negative at €-7.3 million, influenced by a €3.5 million increase in working capital due to higher biomass at year-end.

Meanwhile, cash flow from investment activities was €-22.8 million for the year, with a significant portion directed towards the completion of Phase 2 investments totaling €93 million.

The Kingfish Company boosted its liquidity with a significant capital raise and convertible loan arrangements during 2023 totalling €48 million, of which €32 million came from sustainability-focused Ocean 14 Capital fund.

However, net debt increased to €77.1 million, with the company maintaining €31 million in liquidity to support ongoing operations and future growth initiatives.

Lower FFDR means sustainability milestones on track

The Kingfish Company reiterated its commitment to sustainability throughout its operations, and highlighted it had achieved a 33% reduction in its Forage Fish Dependency Ratio (FFDR) during 2023, bringing FFDR down to 1.71.

"This achievement not only exceeded our 2025 target for reducing dependency on marine resources but also demonstrated our commitment to responsible aquaculture practices," The Kingfish Company said in its press release.

The Company also successfully lowered its carbon emissions, accomplishing 75% of its 2025 carbon footprint reduction goal in 2023.

"The reduction in Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) also played a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions and lessening our reliance on marine resources. Our R&D team remains dedicated to further reducing this dependency. By optimizing feed formulations and exploring alternative ingredients, we aim to continue minimizing our impact on marine ecosystems," the Company said.

Optimizing Netherlands operations but also eyeing international expansion

Looking forward, The Kingfish Company is primarily focused on accelerating sales growth and optimizing operations.

The Company also said it is "investing significantly" in sales and marketing to further expand its customer base and as well as develop existing and new markets. Gudo klein Gebbink was appointed as the new Commercial Director in January 2024, bringing extensive experience to help expand the customer base and develop the brand further.

While its current main priority is optimizing its Netherlands operations, The Kingfish Company is also exploring expansion plans in the US, Europe, and elsewhere.

"The Company expects to benefit from the scaling effect and further improvement in operations and productivity to become profitable and cash positive," it said.

In addition, the Company said it is "closely monitoring" its liquidity to ensure sufficient financing in support of its current growth trajectory as well as possible expansion opportunities.

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