Austevoll Seafood ASA (AUSS) published its 2022 annual report with a record year, although there are some areas to work on. Figures to highlight include the group closed with an EBITDA over NOK 6.8 billion (EUR 0.58 billion/ USD 0.64 billion), including its various activities in Pelagia, Lerøy Seafood Group, and the group itself.
2022 has been a tough year across the board for the companies. Challenging and changing conditions after the Covid-19 restrictions were aggravated by the geopolitical tensions of the Russia-Ukraine war, affecting financial markets. Despite this, Austevoll has been able to look forward.
About the salmon industry, catch volumes in Norway decreased by 2.6%, and average spot prices for 2022 increased by 38.5% (NOK 79 per kg) (EUR 6,73/ USD 7,43 per kg) compared to 2021 prices (NOK 57 per kg) (EUR 4,86 /USD 5,36 per kg). Overall, LSG's earnings were stronger than in 2021, although they note changes to be made for next year, in particular, to reduce mortality. These figures have led them to draw up a plan with which they hope to increase it both in volume and reduce mortality progressively until 2025.
Regarding whitefish, the year closed with 200 tons more than the total volume of catches. However, AUSS explained that, although the evolution was positive in the delivery prices achieved by the fishing fleet, the high cost of raw materials is a major challenge for the sector.
In Norway, AUSS faces the same concern as all other companies in the industry: the "salmon tax". In the annual report, Arne Møgster, the CEO of AUSS, explained that "this decision will be of crucial importance to the seafood industry development in Norway." Furthermore, he explained the consequences for Norway "at stake is its ability to maintain its unique position as a Norwegian regional industry that is globally competitive and has the potential to safeguard employment and living conditions along the coast, also considering that Norway's oil- and gas-related activities will eventually, in the long run, come to an end."
Total fish landings in Chile's purse seine fleet were higher last year than in 2021, due to the increase in the total allowable catch (TAC), which increased catches by 11% from 72,000 tons in 2021 to 80,000 tons in 2022. FoodCorp also grew, increasing by 2%.
In Peru, the total quota set was higher than in 2021. However, the industry was only able to catch 84% of the total quota. Thus, the Austral Group reduced raw material consumption from 569,000 tons in 2021 to 424,000 tons in 2022.
Concerning pelagic operations in the North Atlantic region, since its launch in 2014, Pelagia has successfully added value to the AUSS feedstock each year, utilizing the fully integrated operational structure and expertise. The total feedstock intake for Pelagia in 2022 (excl. associates) was 1.2 million tons, in line with the 2021 level. However, gross revenue increased by 12% compared to 2021 and profit increased by 67%, thanks to the improved performance of all segments of the Pelagia Group.
Finally, Møgster closed by clarifying that AUSS' strategy "is to continue to grow and further develop our Group, together with our employees, within its current operating segments". And he explained that after these difficult times, he was grateful to the employees "for all their great and continued efforts over the years, and their trust, loyalty, and devotion will continue to be the key factors of our success in the future."
Since it was established in 1981, Austevoll Seafood ASA (AUSS) has developed into an active and long-term owner of world-leading portfolio companies within aquaculture, fisheries, processing, sales, and distribution. The Group's activities are divided into the following operating segments: Lerøy Seafood Group ASA (Europe), Austral Group S.A.A. (Peru), FoodCorp Chile S.A. (Chile), Br. Birkeland AS (Norway), Br. Birkeland Farming AS (Norway) and the joint venture Pelagia Holding AS (Europe)