Strong third quarter for Benchmark

Aquaculture products supplier Benchmark (LON: BMK) increased third quarter revenues by 28% to £36.3m with a particularly strong performance by the genetics division. Management hopes to gain a Euronext Growth Oslo quotation later this year.

Sales of salmon eggs were 39% higher and shrimp sales were 164% ahead from a lower base. Investment in additional capacity in Iceland and the US is beginning to pay off.

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Advanced nutrition division revenues were 5% ahead, helped by foreign exchange rate changes. China was the only area where sales were lower in the period.

The animal health division loss is much lower as CleanTreat sea lice treatment sales build up. A change in business and revenue model will hold back short-term profitability.

In the nine months to September 2022, underlying operating profit fell from £7.3m to £5.6m due to higher operating costs, although that is partly down to higher depreciation charges.

Net debt increased during the quarter, but there is still cash and available facilities of £50m. A Euronext Growth Oslo flotation would be accompanied by a small fundraising, but it would not have a large effect on debt levels.

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The Euronext Growth Oslo flotation will happen in this calendar year depending on stockmarket conditions. If it happens, next year a move will be made to a full listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange. Benchmark will then consult on whether to maintain the AIM quotation.  

At 41.25p, Benchmark is capitalised at £290.4m.

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