Benchmark falls 30% amid ‘challenging conditions’

Shares of Sheffield-based Benchmark Holdings, the aquaculture health, genetics and nutrition firm, fell almost 30% on Monday after it produced a third-quarter trading update warning of “challenging conditions.”

Benchmark said in its trading update: “The company has continued to face challenging conditions in the global shrimp and Mediterranean seabass/bream markets, as outlined in its half year results in June 2019, which has impacted sales volumes in Advanced Nutrition.

“Additionally, the company is experiencing a reduced contribution from trials of certain pre-license pipeline products within Animal Health, as a result of making good progress towards satisfactorily concluding trials with fewer treatments than expected, and from delays in commencing trials in several territories. 

“The company’s expectations of the revenue and profit mix for the full year have also changed.

“The company is actively progressing its programme of operational and structural efficiencies, including key commercial licensing deals for its non-core animal vaccines, which, if completed this financial year, are expected to substantially offset the negative variance referred to above.

“However, there is a risk to the delivery of these deals within the current financial year.

“Notwithstanding these short-term challenges, the board believes that the company is well positioned in its markets and the opportunities for its existing products and those coming from its pipeline are strong.

“The company continues to progress delivery of its five year strategy to drive future growth and profitability.”