Fish feeds boost Nutreco earnings

Company focuses on innovation in wake of adverse weather conditions, volatile market

Netherlands headquarters of international animal nutrition group Nutreco has reported revenues of €2.573 billion for the first half of 2011, up by 14.3% from the equivalent six months of 2010. Total earnings before exceptional items and amortization were 2.4% higher at €114.7 million, of which animal nutrition contributed €54.6 million (down by 11.2%) and fish feed gave €35.3 million (up by 71.4%).

A detailed breakdown of the EDITA total showed earnings from compound feed production in Europe lower by 15.1% at €9 million, while premixes and specialties dropped by 14.3% to €34.7 million. But the group’s Canadian animal nutrition interests improved their earnings performance by 4.8% at €10.9 million.

“In our animal nutrition business we see that farming will be increasingly professionalised,” said CEO Wout Dekker. “Growing demand, adverse weather conditions and historically low stocks have brought high and volatile raw material prices. Animal nutrition companies and farmers have to find solutions and innovation is more important than ever. To offer the farmers the feed solutions they need, Nutreco R&D is focusing on finding alternatives for raw materials, raising farm productivity and the efficient transfer of the nutritional value from feed raw materials into easily digestible feed. Our results in animal nutrition provide a firm base for organic growth supported by acquisitions. We will strengthen our presence in China, Brazil and Russia and develop sustainable business in Western Europe and North America.”

According to Dekker, the company’s performance in fish feed is delivering positive results. ”The growth is clearly back in salmon farming,” he said. ”There is a strong recovery in Chile from the infectious salmon anemia virus and a continuing good performance in Norway. Skretting Chile will reopen its Pargua fish feed plant in September 2011 to meet the growing demand. We also see exciting opportunities to further diversify in feed for other fish species and in new regions such as South-East Asia and South America.”

Nutreco’s aquafeed arm, Skretting, closed the plant at Pargua in Chile in September 2008 after a sharp drop in the Chilean production of Atlantic salmon due to the ISA viral disease. Skretting currently has three plants in Chile, but says the re-opening of the other plant reflects a strong national recovery of aquaculture with volumes heading back to pre-ISA levels.