Benchmark revenues top £125m; mulls Oslo listing

Sheffield-based aquaculture biotech firm Benchmark Holdings said on Monday it raised £20.7 million through a placing with existing and new shareholders through the sale of 33.1 million new shares at 62p per share.

Benchmark also said it is considering a market listing in Oslo “as the world’s largest seafood focused market.”

The company said a listing in Oslo would give it “access to its unique financial aquaculture ecosystem and global base of specialist sector investors and analysts.”

These developments came as Benchmark announced its revenues rose 18% to £125.1 million in the year ended September 30, 2021, and adjusted EBITDA rose 34% to £19.4 million.

Loss before tax improved from £22.6 million in 2020 to £9.2 million in 2021.

The new shares represent 4.7% of the enlarged issued share capital of the company.

Benchmark Holdings CEO Trond Williksen said: “2021 was a very successful year for Benchmark with much accomplished financially, operationally and strategically.

“The group delivered a strong financial performance across its three business areas reflecting our new commercial focus and supported by improving conditions, particularly in our important shrimp market which had been hardest hit by the pandemic.

There is good momentum in our business helped by positive conditions in our markets contributing to a good start to the new financial year across all business areas, consistent with our outlook for the year as a whole.

The aquaculture industry increasingly recognises the importance of an integrated approach to sustainability across the value chain which Benchmark is uniquely positioned to deliver through our range of solutions, underpinning our focus on delivering profitable growth.”

On the potential Oslo listing, Benchmark said: “In the context of the company’s positive outlook and growth opportunities, together with the approaching maturity of its 850 million NOK bond in June 2023, the board conducted a review to define the optimal structure and listing venue to support its next phase of growth. 

“As a result of this review, the board is considering a listing in Oslo as the world’s largest seafood focused market.

“A listing in Oslo would give the company access to its unique financial aquaculture ecosystem and global base of specialist sector investors and analysts.

“The company has appointed DnB Markets and Pareto Securities as advisers on a potential listing in Oslo.”