Set up in 2000, the business is now worth £305mln
A new salmon breeding operation in Salten, Norway - the most modern in the world – will boost capacity by 75%.
2018 revenues rose by 13% to £151.5mln while underlying profits jumped by 68% to £17mln
What it does
Advanced nutrition specialises in feeding the young animals including probiotics to get through the early life stages.
Animal health, meanwhile, tackles serious issues such as sea lice in fish farming.
Knowledge Services, the fourth leg, is the smallest and includes our aquaculture veterinary consulting services, data services, education and training,
Salmon and shrimp account for the bulk of revenues currently, but Benchmark is starting to see good demand for sea bass in Europe, sea bream (dorado) and in the southern hemisphere, tilapia.
Research house Equity Development has a price target of 98.5p compared to a current market price of 55p.
What the boss says
"The growth drivers for our business remain strong, with the increasing need for solutions that improve productivity in the growing aquaculture sector to support sustainable food production,” said Malcolm Pye chief executive.
“Trading [in 2019] has commenced strongly in Genetics, with high demand for our disease and sea lice resistant salmon eggs.”
"Over the next 18 months we expect to see our investment in a number of areas, such as our next generation sea lice treatment, our disease resistant shrimp, new aquaculture vaccines and probiotics, together with our new facility in Norway, starting to deliver, resulting in high growth in revenues, attractive margins and cash generation, which will increase our financial flexibility and deliver attractive shareholder returns."
Fundamentals remain firmly in the company’s favour.
The fishing industry has just about reached the limit of what it can catch in the sea and might even be in decline.
Seafood has emerged as an essential component of healthy diets.
The middle-class has started to flex its muscles in the southern hemisphere, traditionally a fish-eating culture.
A growing global population needs more food to be produced from the water.