Proximar Seafood has presented its results for the first quarter, predicting a promising outlook for its Atlantic salmon offering to the Japanese market.
The land-based salmon company, which is currently constructing its first facility in Oyama, Japan, at the foot of Mount Fuji, says construction and initial rearing of its fish are going according to plan.
Presenting the results, CEO Joachim Nielsen noted that Proximar's location in Japan gives the company a significant cost advantage over competitors. Currently over 90% of Japan's Atlantic salmon is brought in by air freight – meaning significant hike in prices due to the energy crisis and geopolitical situation.
Air freight between Europe and Japan now has to avoid Russia, he said, which means a significantly longer journey and higher transportation and fuel costs for the fresh Atlantic salmon market in Japan.
Nielsen said the Japanese market had demonstrated an increased focus on local food supply due to the geopolitical situation, a perspective also refelcted in the Japanese press. In recent days, he pointed out, an article on Japan's food "self sufficiency" published in the Japan Times highlighting that Japan had the lowest food self-sufficiency rate among the G7 nations.
While the Japanese consumer uptake of Atlantic salmon is currently low, Nielsen said, consumption was growing steadily and is predicted to continue rising, with the younger generation driving the trend in Japan. Proximar's products were also receiving interest in other Asian markets, which Nielsen said was "very encouraging", particularly given Proximar is "still a young company, without any products in the market yet".
The market prices for salmon are currently high, and the company's expectation is that these will remain high.
"We've seen strong consumer interest, due to the combination of freshness, made-in-Japan, and the Mount Fuji location," Nielsen explained.
The company is close to completion of its Stage 1 facility, which Nielsen described as "a major milestone in Proximar's history".
Proximar intends to transfer the first batch of fish to its new grow-out module on completion during the summer, and is on track to harvest its first fish in the third quarter of 2024, he said. The company predicts a healthy EBIT margin, at NOK 63 per kilogram, based on a production of 5,300 metric tonnes HOG.
Proximar CFO Pål K. Grimsrud reiterated Nielsen's positive message, highlighting four key acheivements during the first quarter: the successful transfer of first batch to first feeding and nursery, Proximar securing the "first blue sustainability loan in Japan", recruitment of new specialist employees, and strong interest from future salmon buyers both from within Japan and elsewhere in Asia.
In the meantime, Nielsen said, Proximar intends to continue with building its platform, and finding good long-term partners remains an important part of its strategy.
Proximar Seafood is a land-based salmon farming company, currently constructing the first large-scale fish farm for Atlantic salmon in Japan. Our first facility in Oyama is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2023 with an annual production capacity volume of 5 300 tonnes head-on-gutted (HOG). The production was initiated in October 2022 and first harvest is expected medio 2024.