AquaBounty closed 2023 with a drastic drop in cash reserves

Despite a 14% increase in total production, AquaBounty's revenues declined, and by year-end cash had fallen by more than USD 90 million.
Problems came one after another for AquaBounty last year and, even with the revenue recovery in Q4, it was unable to rebound and ended 2023 with a net loss of $27.56 million (€25.6 million).

Problems came one after another for AquaBounty last year and, even with the revenue recovery in Q4, it was unable to rebound and ended 2023 with a net loss of $27.56 million (€25.6 million).

Photo: AquaBounty Technologies.

"Our financial results for 2023 are indicative of the financial and operational challenges that we encountered during the year." This is how Sylvia Wulf, Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer of AquaBounty, began her assessment of the Q4 and full-year 2023 results presented yesterday. The land-based salmon producer closed the year with a drastic drop in its cash reserves from USD 102.6 million (EUR 95.2 million) in 2022 to only USD 9.2 million (EUR 8.5 million) in 2023, this is a decrease of USD 93.4 million (EUR 86.7 million).

AquaBounty generated USD 553 thousand (EUR 513 thousand) in revenues in the fourth quarter, an increase of 23% compared to its results in the same period of 2022. However, despite this, and also even though during the year the land-based company was able to increase its total production by 14%, by the end of 2023, product revenues totalled USD 2.47 million (EUR 2.29 million), a year-on-year decrease of 21% compared to USD 3.14 million (EUR 2.91 million) last year.

The net loss in the fourth quarter increased to USD 8.42 million (EUR 7.81 million) in 2023 from USD 6.07 million (EUR 5.63 million) in Q4 2022. For the full year, the company reported a net loss of USD 27.56 million (EUR 25.6 million) compared to USD 22.16 million (EUR 20.58 million) a year ago.

In terms of its stock price, both basic loss and diluted loss per share from continuing operations was USD 7.17 (EUR 6.65), up from USD 5.78 (EUR 5.36) a year ago. Not good news for AquaBounty, which in October announced a reverse stock split to remain on the Nasdaq.

Exploring financing alternatives to strengthen balance sheet and increase cash runway

Problems came one after another for the land-based salmon producer last year, as the CEO and Chairman of the Board herself explained in the company's release of the results. "We began the year with a limited ability to harvest at our Indiana farm, as needed repairs were performed on our processing building. By the time the facility was fully back in operation in early May, the market price for Atlantic salmon had begun to fall," she said.

This continued through the second and third quarters and only partially recovered during the holiday season in Q4 when, as mentioned, AquaBounty managed to increase its revenues, although not enough to fully recover its year-over-year revenues. According to Wulf, in addition to the significant impact to the company of the increased cost estimate for their Ohio farm - forcing them to even pause construction - their net loss grew due to significant increases in state tax expense, legal fees, and outside consulting, the latter driven by their fundraising efforts.

"Faced with these challenges, we began exploring a range of financing alternatives to strengthen our balance sheet and increase our cash runway," AquaBounty's CEO continued. To this end, in February 2024 the company announced that it had decided to sell its Indiana farm operation in order to increase its cash position and to decrease its on-going cash burn.

"Operations at our PEI farm continue to expand with the installation of additional egg incubation capacity, which will allow us to increase the availability of non-transgenic Atlantic salmon eggs and fry for sale to salmon farmers. Furthermore, our R&D team continues to make advances in genetics, breeding, fish health and nutrition," said Sylvia Wulf. And concluded, "We have a fully engaged and committed management team that is focused on dealing with our challenges and taking the necessary steps to support our future growth."

About AquaBounty

AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. is a land-based fish farming expert raising Atlantic salmon from broodstock to grow-out, to supply nearby markets. Currently, the company operates a grow-out farm located in Indiana, U.S. - which is now for sale -, and a broodstock and egg production farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Another farm is under construction in Pioneer, Ohio, U.S. - although it is currently at a standstill - and it also has a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Noble Salmon to build and operate a salmon RAS farm in the Republic of Georgia.

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