Overseas de­mand sees sales hit a high at Scot­tish Salmon

● New mar­kets in­clud­ing Cam­bo­dia and Laos take ex­ports to over 50% of turnover

The Scotsman - - Business - By PERRY GOURLEY

overseas de­mand for Scot­tish salmon has seen one of the coun­try’s big­gest pro­duc­ers post record sales fig­ures as it re­cov­ers from a dif­fi­cult 2016.

Th­escot­tish­salmoncom­pany, which em­ploys some 500 peo­ple across more than 50 sites in Scot­land, saw rev­enue grow by 25 per cent in the first half of the year to £72 mil­lion.

The Oslo-listed fish farmer also saw net earn­ings rise to £24.3m from £16.9m in the first half of 2016. In­creased overseas sales to mar­kets in­clud­ing North Amer­ica and the Far East helped ex­ports rise to more than 50 per cent of to­tal turnover, com­pared to 42 per cent last year. New mar­kets es­tab­lished by the com­pany in­clude Cam­bo­dia and Laos.

The group said bi­o­log­i­cal is­sues such as prob­lems caused by seal­ice which hit the in­dus­try last year re­main chal­leng­ing for firms but added that its own abil­ity to man­age the is­sue has im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly com­pared to last year.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Craig An­der­son said de­mand for pre­mium qual­ity Scot­tish salmon across the globe “has never been higher”.

“We have max­imised the op­por­tu­ni­ties this pro­vides, ev­i­denced by a record half year per­for­mance,” he said.

“Our strat­egy for long-term sus­tain­able growth is pay­ing div­i­dends with an­other site ex­pan­sion con­sented in the pe­riod and a ro­bust pipe­line in place. Our pro­gramme of site devel­op­ment and se­cur­ing long-term cus­tomers re­la­tion­ships at home and overseas, are the fun­da­men­tals which un­der­pin this growth strat­egy and re­main our key fo­cus for the re­main­der of 2017.”

In­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture pro­gressed through­out the pe­riod in­clud­ing the pur­chase of a hatch­ery busi­ness, a long­stand­ing sup­plier.

The com­pany has re­cently se­cured con­sent for an ad­di­tional2,000ton­nesof­ca­pac­ity at a site at Portree on Skye and said a num­ber of other prostrong pos­als for site de­vel­op­ments were un­der way. The Portree site will be stocked in 2018 with first har­vests an­tic­i­pated in late 2019.

The firm said an­nual har­vest vol­umes for this year are ex­pected to be 25,000 tonnes.

It added that although the ef­fects of Brexit are yet to be seen, it will “main­tain strong re­la­tion­ships with its cus­tomers within the EU area while also con­tin­u­ing to in­crease ex­po­sure to overseas mar­kets in North Amer­ica and the Far East”.

The Ed­in­burgh-head­quar­tered com­pany is the lat­est fish firm to re­port pos­i­tive results as the in­dus­try con­tin­ues to ben­e­fit from high prices.

Ear­lier this month Nor­we­gian fish farmer Marine Har­vest re­ported its best sec­ond quar­ter on record. Its Scot­tish arm, Marine Har­vest Scot­land, ac­counted for around a third of to­tal group earn­ings. Gov­ern­ment fig­ures also showed Scot­tish salmon ex­ports reached a record £346m in the first half of 2017 – up 70 per cent on the same pe­riod last year. The US is the largest market, while China is the big­gest Asian buyer.

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