The company with the golden needle: Fish vaccine supplier Pharmaq makes €63 million before tax

Aslak Berge
Strong margins.

Pharmaq makes money from the sale of vaccines. The operating margin was 48.4 per cent last year. The fish health company develops, produces and sells vaccines to the aquaculture industry, primarily salmon and trout in Norway, Chile, Scotland and Canada. Pharmaq is also involved in sea bass and sea bream in the Mediterranean, tilapia in Latin America and pangasius in Asia.

“Revenue growth in 2020 is largely driven by volume growth for Alpha Flux in Chile, a pharmaceutical lice product introduced to the market in August 2019,” the company’s annual report states.

“Sales of multivalent and specialized vaccine for salmon are also key contributors to the overall result.”

In July 2020, Pharmaq entered into an agreement with Benchmark Holding to purchase Fish Vet Group for £14.4-14.7 million in cash. Scottish Fish Vet Group offers diagnostics and testing that Pharmaq can now offer to fish farmers in the larger markets.

Pharmaq was established in 2004 through a management buy-out from Alpharma, whose history dates back to the 1980s. The company’s head office and vaccine production are located at Overhalla in Nord-Trøndelag in Norway, while the management, marketing department and research and development are located in Oslo.

The balance is rock solid. At the turn of the year, Pharmaq had a book equity of NOK 1.4 billion (€143 million). This gave an equity ratio of 82.5 per cent.

The company is wholly owned by the pharmaceutical giant Zoetis.

Pharmaq 2020 2019 Change
Turnover 1187.5 1103.6 7.6%
EBIT 575.0 555.0 3.6%
Result before taxes 612.0 544.4 12.4%
Operating margin 48.4% 50.3%
All figures in millions of Norwegian kroner

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