Salmones Austral saw its EBITDA go into positive territory in Q1 2022, reaching US$19.9 million (€18.4 million) during the period, up from negative US$3.8 million (€3.5 million) in Q1 2021.
The Chilean fish farmer said that higher salmon prices and the ongoing recovery of the markets are behind the improved financial picture.
It fetched US$5.70 per kilo WFE during the quarter, compared to US$4.17 recorded at the beginning of 2021. This, it said, “generated an operating margin of US$ 21.8 million, an amount that is US$ 24.5 million higher than the figure recorded for the same period of the previous year.”
These factors have enabled the company to offset the significant increase in costs.
In volume terms, sales in Q1 2022 amounted to 18,100 tons, down 7.3 percent compared to the same period last year. “The drop was due to much of the Coho crop in 3Q 2021 being sold out to firm over the past year, while the 3Q 2020 crop was shipped on consignment and largely sold between January and March 2021,” the company said.
Profits reached US$1.8 million, a figure that compares favourably with the losses of US$9.4 million in Q1 2021.
Christian Samsing, vice president of Salmones Austral, said the company experienced challenges induced by climate change during the quarter – particularly lack of oxygen and microalgae events – which affected its salmon production.
He is nonetheless satisfied with the Q1 financial results. “We envision that the rest of the year should continue on the same positive path,” he said.
He observed that the farmed salmon industry is on a better footing than other protein producers with respect to inflation. “The cost/price ratio of salmon has improved compared to other protein products, such as meat and milk, which has meant that our margins have not deteriorated as much as in other industries.”