What Benchmark Holdings does

Benchmark Holdings PLC (LON:BMK) has three core divisions, breeding and genetics – which includes characteristics such as disease resistance, production efficiency and product quality.

The Advanced Nutrition division specialises in feeding the young animals including probiotics to get through the early life stages, while Animal Health tackles serious issues such as sea lice in fish farming.

The company believe the combined products have the potential to be transformational for the industry, providing a solution with “zero environmental impact to one of the industry’s biggest challenges”.

Knowledge Services, the fourth leg, is the smallest and includes aquaculture veterinary consulting services, data services, education and training.

How it’s doing

In the three months to the end of March – Benchmark’s second-quarter – group revenue eased to £32mln from £37.7mln in the corresponding period of 2019.

Advanced Nutrition sales fell to £19.9mln from £25mln the previous year, which Benchmark ascribed to weak shrimp markets plus oversupply and price competition in the Artemia (brine shrimp) market.

The Genetics division’s revenues held steady at £10.4mln (2019: £10.8mln) while Animal Health revenues were also little changed, at £3.3mln (£3.6mln).

Adjusted underlying earnings (EBITDA) declined to £4.59mln from £5.17mln the year before. The loss before tax narrowed to £13.2mln from £18.9mln the previous year.

What the boss says, executive chairman Peter George

“Our priority continues to be on completing the restructuring of the group to focus on our core aquaculture disciplines, reducing our cost base, increasing efficiency and transitioning from R&D investment into profitability.

“Longer-term, the fundamentals of our business are very attractive with an increasing need for products and solutions that enable sustainable food production.”

Inflexion points

  • Launch and ramp-up of CleanTreat
  • BMK08 regulatory approval
  • Recovery of shrimp and seabass markets 
  • Raised £43mln in 2020 to develop and commercialise new products

Blue Sky

Fundamentals remain firmly in the company’s favour: 

The fishing industry has just about reached the limit of what it can catch in the sea and might even be in decline

Seafood is increasingly acknowledged as an essential component of healthy diets

The growing middle-classes in the southern hemisphere, traditionally a fish-eating culture, are spending evermore.

A growing global population needs more food to be produced from the water