Benchmark looks to disposals as loss tops £73m

Shares of Sheffield-based Benchmark Holdings, the aquaculture health, genetics and nutrition firm, fell about 7% on Friday after it announced disappointing results for the year to September 30, 2019.

Benchmark said revenue from continuing operations fell 3% to £127.3 million.

The firm said loss before tax from continuing operations was £73.3 million “driven by an impairment of intangible assets related to INVE of £44.8m as a result of a reduction in forecasts in advanced nutrition due to material change in market outlook.”

On current trading, Benchmark said: “Weakness in the shrimp and sea bass/bream markets continues and while some recovery is expected it is unlikely to recover to 2018 levels in 2020.

“The outlook in the salmon market remains positive …

“Overall the company expects to deliver underlying adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations (before one-off other income) in line with this year in FY2020 and to maintain sufficient liquidity to execute its product development programme and support its continuing operations after taking account of the expected timing and proceeds from the planned disposals and cost reductions.”

Benchmark executive chairman Peter George said: “Following these disappointing results, and the management changes announced in August, our priorities for the coming year are to deliver the programme of disposals and restructuring, to obtain regulatory approval and prepare for launch of BMK08 and CleanTreat and to execute our strategy in our core business areas of genetics and advanced nutrition, including the launch of SPR shrimp and the expansion of our health and specialist diets segments in advanced nutrition.

“There is a growing need in the market for solutions that improve the sustainability of food production in aquaculture.

“Benchmark’s focus on delivering products and solutions that improve animal health and welfare, and that reduce environmental impact, positions it as a leader in raising the sustainability standards in aquaculture.”