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Benchmark nudges higher as underlying earnings double in first half

The fish health and nutrition group has enjoyed a solid first half of its financial year, with revenues climbing and underlying earnings soaring
fish farm
The higher-margin nutrition and genetics divisions were the star performers

Shares in Benchmark Holdings PLC (LON:BMK) nudged higher on Tuesday after the fish health and nutrition group saw underlying earnings almost double in the first half.

Benchmark – which, among other things, makes vaccines for seabass – saw revenues climb 9% in the six months ended 31 March

2018 to £75.7mln (H1 17: £69.2mln).

The company recorded a narrower loss of £5.6mln for the period (H1 17: £8.9mln), although excluding various one-off costs, adjusted EBITDA (underlying earnings) soared 91% to £6.3mln (H1 17: £3.3mln).

The growth was driven by a strong performance in its higher-margin nutrition and genetics divisions, and despite a drop-off in animal health revenues.

“The group has delivered good organic revenue growth and improving profitability on an adjusted basis, while we continued to invest in our pipeline of new products and infrastructure,” said chief executive Richard Pye.

“The outlook for the group is positive as the drivers for our business are stronger than ever before, with continued growth in aquaculture and increasing recognition from consumers, producers and regulators of the need for sustainable solutions to enable future growth.”

READ: Benchmark pays US$16.25mln for 49% stake in Chilean joint venture

Pye said he also expects to reap the rewards from the Chilean joint venture with Empresas AquaChile which it unveiled earlier this month.

Chile is the world’s second largest salmon market and the tie-up will increase Benchmark’s presence there.

Pye added: “Overall, we remain on track to achieve our expectations for the current year, and are confident of Benchmark's capacity to generate attractive returns in the years to come.”

Shares rose 3% to 63p on Tuesday.


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