Higher salmon feed volumes in Norway and the input of shrimp feed producer, Gisis, in Ecuador and tilapia feed maker, Hendrix Misr, in Egypt, both acquired in 2013, saw earnings before interest, tax and amortization (EBITA) for the fish feed segment jump 23.9% to €43.5m.
The Dutch firm’s performance in ‘mature markets’ helped boost its animal nutrition revenue by 4.7% to €59.6m.
It also reported a good result for its Iberian meat and feed operations, up €18m on last year, citing lower raw material inputs and positive chicken and pork meat markets.
The divestment of those businesses was halted in June due to what management reported was a lack of credible bids from interested parties.
Nutreco expects full year 2014 EBITA before exceptional items from continuing operations to be at least equal to that of 2013 - €256.3m.
Its CEO, Knut Nesse, said the global group continues to expect to make one or two strategic acquisitions a year.
Growing pressure in Norwegian salmon market
Commenting on the firm’s half year financial results, Nesse said:
“A key strategic aim is to maintain our global market share in salmon feed as well as diversifying into feed for other species given their growth potential.
The growth in feed for other species is helping to mitigate the impact of market developments in the Norwegian salmon feed market.”
Skretting, the fish feed division of Nutreco, faces growing pressure from competitors in Norway.
The new 220,000 metric ton feed plant feed facility in Bjugn from Marine Harvest, the world’s largest salmon producer and Skretting’s largest customer in 2013, was due to come on stream this month.
And May saw Danish producer, BioMar, announce an investment of over €54m in a new production line that will expand its capacity in Norway by 30%.
The Nutreco CEO said the group also wants to maintain and achieve market-leading positions in fish and shrimp feed both geographically and across different species through investing in innovative and sustainable feed products.
Nutreco recently announced a tie-up with Durante, a fish feed manufacturer in Nigeria, which Nesse said would help establish the feed company in one of Africa's most important markets.
“This is Nutreco's second foothold in Africa, after our investment in Egypt last year, and expands our share of fish feed for non-salmonid species. This fits perfectly in our strategy. We intend this joint venture to provide a base for further expansion in the fast growing West African fish feed market.”
The Dutch feed giant currently produces feed for more than 60 species of fish and shrimp in 16 countries.
And Skretting is keen to develop viable alternatives to fishmeal.
Last month, Marit Husa, communications manager for that division, told us how the Skretting R&D team is evaluating a range of protein substitutes from algae to grain and insect meal, as well as assessing the feasibility of replacing fish oil with microalgae and soy.