Salmones Camanchaca’s operating revenue was halfed in Q4

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Operational performance continues to suffer, mainly due to lower demand, reduced prices, and more restrictive processing..

Salmones Camanchaca’s operating revenue amounted to USD 66 million during the quarter, down 53 per-cent from USD 139 million in Q4 2019. The decrease is due to a 35 per-cent decrease in sales volume, combined with a 27 per-cent drop in prices for Atlantic salmon, wrote the Chilean salmon farmer in a stock exchange announcement.

Operational EBIT before fair value adjustments in Q4 2020 was minus USD 13 million, compared with USD 34 million the period in 2019.

Salmones Camanchaca posted a 22 per-cent decrease in the harvest volume in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to the corresponding period, reaching a total volume of 15,800 tonnes. Harvest volume for the full year 2020 ended at 52,980 tonnes, in line with expectation.

Due to the pandemic market dynamics, Salmones Camanchaca said that operational performance will continue to suffer, mainly due to lower demand, reduced prices, and more restrictive processing. In addition, the company’s cost development in the fourth quarter was heavily impacted by SRS (Salmon Rickettisal Syndrome) mortalities and the Islotes flood incident last May. This resulted in severe biomass losses (30 per-cent) and will likely impact the first months of 2021.

Atlantic salmon live fish (ex‐cage) costs were USD 3.43/kg during the quarter, above the company’s long-term target of USD 3/kg. Ex-cage cost in the previous quarter was USD 3.6/kg and USD 3.02/kg in the corresponding period in 2019. Total processing costs were USD 0.95/kg during the quarter, up from USD 0.7/kg in Q4 2019 but still below the long-term target of USD 1/kg. The increase is due to lower processed volume, higher proportion of value-added products and increased costs related to pandemic protection measures.

Commenting on the performance of Salmones Camanchaca, vice chairman Ricardo García that “entering first quarter 2021, the situation remains challenging”.

“However, with extensive vaccination programs ongoing, both in Chile and in our markets, we expect gradually to move back to pre-COVID-levels, now boosted by the mentioned trend. Combined with our outlook for a tighter supply, our core market will see higher prices, while our ex-cage cost normalized during the second half of 2021”.

On exploiting future market opportunities as in US consumers eating salmon at home, García said that this “will add several kilos of salmon consumption once restaurants are fully open during this coming northern summertime”.

Salmones Camanchaca has an estimated harvest of around 55,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon for 2021-2022. The company expects to reach 70,000 tonnes of salmonids in 2023.