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Business overview
With the acquisitions completed in 2016, Lerøy is now definitively the largest corporation in Norway for catches and processing of whitefish. One of the world’s largest seafood exporters of salmon and trout has therefore now acquired a significant international position within whitefish.

Lerøy Seafood Group has achieved this development by means of both significant organic growth and acquisitions. The Group is currently one of the world’s largest producers of Atlantic salmon and trout, Norway's decidedly largest group for catches and processing of whitefish and one of the world's largest exporters of seafood. 

The Group views its operations as local with a global perspective. The Group aims to be an enterprise with local roots in the locations where it operates, thereby contributing to all local communities irrespective of region and nationality. 

The seafood industry is still a young industry with substantial potential for future development and growth. Future investments must also lay the foundations for sound operations and profitability. This criterion includes a special focus on management expertise and, of equal importance, the expertise within the organisation as a whole. 

As the Group is involved in a global industry which experiences continuous fluctuations and developments in general conditions, our employees require a wide range of expertise and experience from varying industries and, not least, a high willingness to adapt to changes. Changes in framework conditions require employees who are willing to learn and flexible. 

The Group’s employees meet these requirements. Our employees’ focus on competitive strengths and results is reflected in their commitment towards ensuring that the individual companies shall also fulfil future requirements and thereby achieve the Group’s strategic goals and performance requirements. 

The growth of Lerøy Seafood Group generates ever increasing demands for business systems, risk management and capital. The Group’s production companies face a substantial biological risk, and there is also substantial risk associated with the sales and distribution activities. The Group maintains a continuous focus on developing business systems that can grow with the company and that provide a competitive edge on the marketplace. The Group has a very strong focus on risk management in its daily operations, as well as by ensuring that potential acquisitions and alliances match the Group’s risk profile. 

Fish farming is very capital intensive. The industry has historically been undercapitalised, with an ensuing high level of financial risk. This is not compatible with the cyclical nature of the industry. Having a healthy, flexible and sustainable source of financing has always been, and will remain, a key focus in Lerøy’s strategy. Corporate management and the Board of Directors are actively involved in securing financial and structural relationships which allow the Group to achieve its long-term financial goals. The company’s financial contingency planning, both present and future, will allow the Group to take part in the value-generating structural reorganisation under way in the industry.

North Norway 

Lerøy Aurora AS represents the backbone of production in North Norway, and the company is a fully integrated producer of Atlantic salmon. The company harvested 36,800 tonnes of Atlantic salmon in 2018, down slightly from 39,200 tonnes in 2017. 

Thanks to substantial investments in the smolt facility in Laksefjord, Lerøy Aurora now has access to a higher number of larger smolt with improved quality. This has allowed for a boost to production volumes and shorter production time in sea cages. Based on positive experience, the Group decided in 2017 to implement further development of the smolt facility in Laksefjord to further increase capacity for large smolt in Lerøy Aurora. Due to a tragic fire in parts of the facility in Laksefjord in January 2019, in which one person employed by a subcontractor died, the outcome of the most recent investments in Laksefjord in terms of production growth is expected to be delayed from 2020 to 2021.

Lerøy Aurora has a modern salmon processing facility, located on the island of Skjervøy. This facility is a major supplier of slaughtering services to other suppliers. In 2015, an investment was made in a fully automatic filleting line on Skjervøy, significantly increasing the plant’s filleting capacity. 

Lerøy Aurora reported a marginal increase in release from stock costs for harvested salmon in 2018 when compared with 2017, although still at a low level. At the time of writing, release from stock costs are expected to be slightly higher in 2019. 

In total, the North Norway region reported an operating margin per kilo produced of NOK 26.90 in 2018, up from NOK 26.10 in 2017. The Group expects the investments made in smolt to produce an increase in harvest volume for Aurora in the near future. The current estimate for harvest volume in 2018 for Lerøy Aurora is 37,000 GWT.

 

Central Norway

Lerøy Midt is a major producer of salmon in Central Norway and has significant processing capacity. After several challenging years for Lerøy Midt, developments over the past two years have been positive. The company harvested 66,500 tonnes of Atlantic salmon in 2018, up slightly from 64,500 tonnes in 2017. The current estimate for harvest volume in 2019 is 71,000 GWT.

Release from stock costs for Lerøy Midt were significantly lower in 2018 than in 2017. There still remains potential for further cost reductions. For 2018, Lerøy Midt reported an operating margin per kilo produced of NOK 20.40, up from NOK 17.70 in 2017. 

In June 2018, production started at the Group's new processing plant for salmon on Hitra island. The Group is confident that this is the world’s most high-tech salmon processing plant. It can produce 70,000 tonnes in one shift per year, will substantially increase the volume of fillets transported and will provide major contributions to improved efficiency of the value chain for salmon.

 

West Norway

Lerøy Seafood Group is mainly represented in West Norway by Lerøy Vest AS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lerøy Seafood Group, and Sjøtroll Havbruk AS, in which Lerøy Seafood Group ASA owns 50.71% of the shares. 

The companies operate as one unit with joint management. In 2018, Lerøy Sjøtroll reported a production volume of 58,750 tonnes of salmon and trout. This is slightly lower than expected, but up from 54,000 GWT in 2017. Around 24,000 GWT of total production volume in 2017 was trout. 

Lerøy Sjøtroll has enjoyed a positive development in costs, although the Group still feels there is significant room for improvement. As a result of the challenges relating to reproductive maturity, the prices realised for trout were significantly lower than expected in Q4 2018. This had an impact on operating margin. In total, the operating margin per kilo for 2018 was NOK 10.00, down from NOK 14.40 in 2017.

The Group is not satisfied with the operating margin or the production volumes at Lerøy Sjøtroll. A number of measures have been introduced in recent years. The construction of one of the world’s largest RAS post-smolt facility is expected to provide considerable improvements, both with a view to release from stock costs and higher production volumes in the region. Eggs were introduced to the facility in the second quarter of 2018, with the first release of smolt in 2019. 25% of the salmon smolt released in West Norway will weigh more than 500 grams, and this ratio is expected to increase to more than 40% in 2021. Projected harvest volume for Lerøy Sjøtroll in 2019 is 66,000 GWT, of which approx. 27,000 GWT is trout. 

 

Wild Catch

In 2016, Lerøy Seafood Group became the sole owner of both Havfisk ASA and Norway Seafoods AS. 

This was the largest acquisition in the history of the Group. Havfisk ASA and Norway Seafoods AS were consolidated into Lerøy's financial statements as of 1 September 2016. In 2018, the two companies contributed with an EBIT of NOK 388 million.

Havfisk's primary business is wild catches of white fish. At the end of the financial year, Havfisk owned 100% of the shares in Nordland Havfiske AS, 60% of the shares in Hammerfest Industrifiske AS and 97.62% of the shares in Finnmark Havfiske AS. Havfisk has had 10 trawlers in operation in 2018 and 29.6 quota units for cod/haddock. 

In January 2018, Havfisk received delivery of the combined trawler “Nordtind”, built by Vard. The value of this contract was NOK 325 million. The newbuilding is a combination trawler (fresh and frozen fish) with dimensions 80.4 metres x 16.7 metres. In April 2018, the Group signed an agreement with Vard for the construction of an additional trawler of the same size. The value of the new contract is approx. NOK 400 million. This vessel will be the first stern trawler with integrated energy storage system, with the option for both battery operation, diesel-mechanic and diesel-electric propulsion. 

Havfisk has licence rights to harvest more than 10% of the total Norwegian cod quota in the zone north of 62 degrees latitude. This represents more than 30% of the quotas allocated to the trawler fleet. 

Havfisk also owns several processing plants, which are mainly leased out to Lerøy Norway Seafoods on long-term contracts. Havfisk’s trawler licences stipulate an operational obligation for these plants. 

Lerøy Norway Seafoods comprises a total of eight processing plants in North Norway. Five of these are leased from Havfisk AS. 

In Norway, the company mainly produces fresh and frozen fillets, loins, portions and tail pieces of cod, saithe and haddock. It also produces some salted fish as well as king crab and snow crab products. Norway Seafoods is the largest purchaser of cod from the coastal fishing fleet in Norway. 

Since the Group acquired Lerøy Norway Seafoods, significant investments have been made in the company's facilities along the Norwegian coast. Investments have been made in improving or reconstructing plants in Skårvågen, Melbu, Rypefjord, Kjøllefjord, Båtsfjord, Sørvær, Berlevåg and Stamsund. In the first half of 2019, the plant in Stamsund will open with new production of ready-to-eat products. 

Industrial processing of whitefish in Norway is challenging, but the Group is confident that such operations are possible and that the challenges can be solved by means of improved marketing and more efficient operations. This process will take time, but the Group is confident there are gains to be made.

Value-added Processing, Sales and Distribution (VAPS&D)

One central aspect of Lerøy Seafood Group's strategy for growth is offering new products to new markets. This requires knowledge of and proximity to both customer and market. 

Lerøy Seafood Group has a long, proud history within the sale, distribution and processing of seafood. Today, the Group sells its products to more than 70 markets worldwide and has a vast network of customers in the majority of these markets. The Group's extensive customer portfolio provides a high spread of risk and an unique knowledge of market trends. One very evident consumer trend is a preference for processed products rather than whole fish. The substantial investments made in recent years in so-called fish-cuts have continued in 2018. These are factories/facilities on the end market with relatively simple processing but large volumes, and where proximity to the end customer is key. In many ways, these “fish-cuts” represent a revolution in the distribution of fresh fish. New and simple consumer-oriented packaging and short and efficient logistics chains make it possible for many more retailers to sell fresh fish. The Group has also continued to develop its “ready-meals” segment.

In 2018, the VAP, sales & distribution segment reported revenue of NOK 19.0 billion, up from NOK 17.6 billion in 2017. The operating margin in 2018 was 1.7 %, slightly down from the figure reported in 2017. Operating profit for the segment was NOK 333 million in 2018, down from NOK 435 million in 2017. The opening of new facilities and other improvement measures are expected to generate increased earnings in 2019. 

Value-added Processing, Sales and Distribution (VAPS&D)
One central aspect of Lerøy Seafood Group's strategy for growth is offering new products to new markets. This requires knowledge of and proximity to both customer and market.

Lerøy Seafood Group has a long, proud history within the sale, distribution and processing of seafood. Today, the Group sells its products to more than 70 markets worldwide and has a vast network of customers in the majority of these markets. Not only does this afford the Group unique knowledge of market trends, it also allows for significant diversification of risk. At the same time, there is a clear trend among consumers, moving from preference for whole fish towards products with a higher degree of processing. In recent years, the Group has made significant investments in so-called "fish-cuts".

These are factories/facilities on the end market with relatively simple processing but large volumes, and where proximity to the end customer is key. In many ways, these “fish-cuts” represent a revolution in the distribution of fresh fish. New and simple consumer-oriented packaging and short and efficient logistics chains make it possible for many more retailers to sell fresh fish.

Moreover, the Group has achieved substantial development within the “ready meals” segment in 2016 and 2017 and has identified very interesting potential in this market. The investments made have eradicated the dividing lines that existed previously between processing operations and sales and distribution. Activities within sales and distribution now increasingly comprise processing. As a result, the Group has merged the two reporting units Value-added Processing (VAP) and Sales and Distribution (S&D) into one segment from 1 January 2017. In 2017, the segment reported revenue of NOK 17.6 billion, up from NOK 16.0 billion in 2016. The operating margin in 2017 was 2.5%, on a par with the figure reported in 2016. Operating profit for the segment was up from NOK 399 million in 2016 to NOK 435 million in 2017.

Lerøy Fossen AS is currently a dedicated salmon and trout processing company and has the largest fish-smoking facility in Norway, on the island of Osterøy outside Bergen. The company has strong local roots and a focus on quality. The company’s products are sold all over the world and fit exceptionally well into Lerøy Seafood Group’s marketing strategy, which calls for increasing levels of processing.

Lerøy Smøgen Seafood AB is a Swedish seafood company involved in the production of various types of smoked seafood products. It also produces and distributes seafood salads and products based on shellfish in brine. Its products are marketed in a number of countries. Lerøy Smøgen Seafood AB is an important incubator for new products in Lerøy Seafood Group ASA.

Rode Beheer B.V. Rode from the Netherlands is a leading producer of processed seafood and has a wide product range comprising smoked, marinated, freshly packaged and frozen products. Rode is extremely well positioned for supplying high-quality seafood to customers in markets such as the Benelux countries, Germany and France. In 2016, Lerøy Seafood Group gained ownership of 100% of the shares in Rode. In 2017, the company completed a state-of-the-art sales, distribution and processing unit in the Netherlands.This is expected to make significant contributions in the years to come.

Bulandet Fiskeindustri AS is a modern Norwegian company processing whitefish for the Norwegian grocery market. The facility is located in Bulandet in the region of Sogn og Fjordane. The most important raw materials are saithe, cod, cusk and ling, and the company’s products play an important role in complementing the Group’s product range.

Lerøy Seafood AS has the highest revenue of all the Group companies, and represents the very core of the Group's sales and logistics operations.The company changed its name from Hallvard Lerøy AS to Lerøy Seafood AS at the start of 2017. In view of Lerøy Seafood AS' central position in the value chain, developing and maintaining its interaction with partners is a priority area. The Group’s global sales network comprises Lerøy Seafood AS' sales offices in a number of countries, as well as established associates in Sweden, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Turkey. Lerøy Seafood AS has sales offices in China, Japan, France and the USA. The sales offices and the associates therefore cover different parts of the Group’s international markets.

The Group’s presence in central markets allows for closer follow-up of key customers and development of new customer relationships. The Group will work to establish a presence in even more markets in the years ahead. In addition to international sales and marketing, the Group is also engaged in nationwide distribution of fresh fish to the Norwegian market via Lerøy Sjømatgruppen AS, in which the Group's Norwegian wholesalers participating along with other external enterprises. This business is based upon establishing regional foundations and expertise in the region in which the customer operates.

At the same time, the Group's network offers economies of scale from nationwide marketing and distribution of seafood. Lerøy Sverige AB is the holding company for the three Swedish companies Lerøy Allt i Fisk AB, Lerøy Stockholm AB and Lerøy Nordhav AB. Lerøy Allt i Fisk AB in Gothenburg is a full-range seafood company with a particularly strong position on the Swedish catering and institutional households market. Lerøy Stockholm AB is located in Stockholm and is one of the city’s largest distributors of seafood, with a particularly high level of expertise in the grocery trade.

The sales and distribution activities in France are of vital importance and currently consist of SAS Lerøy Seafood France, which as well as two fish-cuts, has a sales office in Boulogne.

In 2014, the Group started sales and distribution activities in Spain with the establishment of Lerøy Processing Spain. This company is enjoying a rapid pace of development. It not only runs a modern factory on the outskirts of Madrid, but also opened two new factories for ready meals in 2017. Developments in Spain are very exciting, and the Group is confident that it is well-positioned for sustained positive development.

Operations in Portugal are run by Lerøy Portugal Lda. The company enjoys a good position on the Iberian peninsula, which is a large and important market for Norwegian seafood. The company works purposefully to strengthen its position as a distributor of fresh seafood in Portugal. Lerøy Finland OY was consolidated into Lerøy Seafood Group in 2011.

Lerøy Finland OY is located in Åbo/Turku in Finland and enjoys a strong position in the sale and distribution of seafood on its domestic market. The Group's operations in Turkey are managed by Leroy Turkey. In close collaboration with Lerøy Seafood AS, the company has developed the Turkish market for Atlantic salmon. In 2015, Lerøy Seafood Group increased its ownership interest in the company from 50% to 100%.

Associates
Lerøy Seafood Group ASA has shareholdings in several associates. The largest of these are Norskott Havbruk AS, Seafood Danmark A/S and Seistar Holding AS.

Norskott Havbruk AS is 50% owned by Lerøy Seafood Group ASA and SalMar ASA respectively. Norskott Havbruk AS was set up in 2001 for the sole purpose of acquiring the company currently named Scottish Sea Farms Ltd. (SSF). SSF is the second-largest fish farming company in Scotland with a harvest volume of 31,000 tonnes of salmon in 2017. SSF produces smolt, mainly to meet its own requirements. The company runs two modern land-based plants for processing salmon on the Scottish mainland and in the Shetland Islands. The company works continually to consolidate its position as the leading and most cost-efficient producer of high-quality Atlantic salmon within the EU. The company is already well positioned in several market segments with a focus on high quality, for instance under the respected brand name Label Rouge. The company expects to harvest 26,000 tonnes of salmon in 2018. SSF has significant potential for organic growth in the years to come and aims to achieve an annual harvest volume of between 35,000 and 40,000 tonnes from existing licences.

To ensure such a high volume, the company is currently making major investments in smolt production. In 2015, the Group acquired a 50% ownership interest in Seistar Holding AS, a shipping company involved in well boats. Seistar Holding AS supplies well boat services to companies in West Norway. The company took delivery of a new, large well boat in 2016, which will play an important role in the Group's farming operations in Hordaland.

For some time now, the Group has had a working relationship with Brdr. Schlie in Denmark. In 2013, the parties entered into a joint venture and founded Lerøy Schlie A/S, with a 50% stake each. At the start of 2017, Lerøy sold its shares in Lerøy Schlie A/S and Norway Seafoods Group's operations in Denmark to Seafood International A/S. Seafood International A/S later changed its name to Seafood Danmark A/S, and the Group owns one third of the shares in the Danish company. In recent years, Norway Seafoods Group's activities in Denmark have been very challenging, but developments for the Danish companies in 2017 have been positive. 

Local roots, global perspective

Every day, over 4,200 Lerøy employees contribute to the supply of Norwegian seafood corresponding to five million meals in more than 70 different countries.

Our main office is located in Bergen, but we have fishing vessels, fish farms and processing plants in operation along the entire coast of Norway. Lerøy owns nine trawlers and receives regular deliveries from more than 600 vessels fishing along the coast. These vessels make daily deliveries of whitefish to onshore stations, where the fish is processed and packaged, while well boats transport salmon and trout from our fish farms in North Norway, Central Norway and West Norway to localities for processing.

We have facilities for production and packaging in Norway, and we have production and distribution in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. 

The fisherman-farmer who would row to the fish market in Bergen to sell live fish at the end of the 19th century, most probably had no concept of what he was starting – a commercial enterprise that 120 years later would be serving the entire world 1.8 billion seafood meals every year. 

Today, Lerøy is a world-leading seafood corporation, supplying thousands of different products to retailers, restaurants, canteens and hotels worldwide.