We are involved in sustainable value creation from a perpetual perspective.The seafood business has a long history and has developed into a global industry, but remains very fragmented with complex value chains.
Lerøy believes that the best way to fulfil the requirements made by customers and end consumers on food safety, traceability, sustainability, stability, efficiency and product development is to have a fully integrated value chain.
Throughout the Group’s history, this has shaped Lerøy’s strategy of developing an integrated value chain, controlling every process from roe or catches to the finished products delivered to the consumer.
Lerøy Seafood Group’s business model has proven resilient in both upturns and downturns. The Group produce and catch own raw materials, and direct exposure to volatile raw material prices, but these are typically balanced out through an integrated value chain.
At enter of 2023 the biggest challenge for the Group is the Norwegian government’s proposal of imposing a resource tax on Norwegian acquaculture. This will significant limit the Group’s ability to make investment, and is a challenge both for economic growth, but also making necessary investment to reaching the Group’s ESG objectives.
It is important that over time the company has earnings that can provide dividends for owners and the opportunity for investments in various areas within the Group. Without investment capital, the environment can be negatively affected because the company will not be able to invest in new technology, new buildings, machinery and equipment that will be able to reduce the company's impact on the environment through the value chain.
Without sufficient income, there may be an increased risk of job losses and that the Group not having the opportunity to contribute to development within the value chain. If the company cannot demonstrate a conversion to green operations, it will also be difficult to get access to capital.
The Group`s strong statement of financial position and current earnings support the Group’s clear ambition to remain a leading participant in value-creating structural changes in the seafood industry, both nationally and globally.
Lerøy Seafood Group will continue to selectively consider possible opportunities for investments, business combinations, and alliances that could strengthen the basis for further profitable growth and sustainable value creation. This includes investment opportunities both upstream and downstream.
In the coming years, the Group will continue its growth strategy, most recently demonstrated by the integration of Seafood Danmark. This requires the Group to continuously develop and improve its performance in all segments throughout the value chain.
The Board of Directors has a clearly defined goal for the company to create value for its shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders in a sustainable manner. In this regard, the board will take into account economic, social, and environmental factors. Both short- and long-term goals are established together with the corporate management, in addition to strategies that reflect the company’s risk profile.
The Group operates from a perspective of perpetuality, invests in minimising its impact on the external environment, and works continuously to encourage both the management and employees to maintain sound attitudes towards the environment.
Throughout the year, we have meetings, email correspondence and conversations with various stakeholders where we have presentations and discussions related to the areas where we have or can have a potential impact. We also attend conferences and meetings where we meet and discuss.
Through this form of dialogue, we gain insight into what stakeholders are concerned with and feedback on what they think about the way we work, measures we have initiated and what they think we should focus on going forward. Through various forms of benchmark surveys, we also receive feedback on what stakeholders think about our measures and their implementation.
The Board of Directors emphasises the importance of Lerøy Seafood Group having a clear and predictable dividend policy adapted to the company’s goals, strategy, and risk profile. Dividends should be distributed in accord with the company’s financial strength, growth, and profit performance.
The goal is for financial value creation to increasingly take the form of higher share prices, rather than declared dividends. The Board of Directors is of the opinion that the distribution of dividends in previous years reflects the Group’s dividend policy.
The Group is financially sound, with a book equity of NOK 37 061 million as of 31 December 2022. This corresponds to an equity ratio of 56.7%. The number of shares outstanding in the company at 31 December 2022 was 595,773,680. All shares carry the same rights in the company. As of 31 December 2022, the company owned 297,760 treasury shares.
The capital adequacy requirement stipulates that the Group’s equity ratio shall be at least 30% over time. The Group’s long-term goal for earnings is to maintain an annual return on the Group’s average capital employed of 18% before tax.
The Group’s earnings in 2022 were stronger than in 2021. The past year was impacted by the surge in demand following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, which resulted in high and volatile raw material prices and cost increases across the value chain.
Compared to 2021, revenue was up 15%, to a record high NOK 26.6 billion. This is in line with the Group’s strategy for growth. The operating profit before biomass adjustments was up from NOK 2,519 million in 2021 to NOK 3,195 million in 2022.
|ROCE (%) *||18,0||18,0||18,0||14,5||12,4||10,5|
|Revenue (NOK bn)||25,0||30,0||50,0||26,6||23,1||20,0|
|* Before fair value adjustments related to biological assets|
The group has developed a set of objectives and KPIs which are reviewed annually and followed up on least monthly. This balanced set of KPIs includes ESG variables and is broken down from the Group level at least to the business-unit level. These KPIs are monitored together with project and action lists to ensure development in the desired direction.
In 2021, Lerøy developed a green financing framework with clearly defined sustainability criteria, verified by a third party. We issued our very first green bond loan totalling NOK 1.5 billion and divided into three tranches. Prior to the issue, Lerøy was classified as “investment grade” by a credit rating agency.
The Board of Directors believes that going forward, the Group’s many years of investing in vertical integration, building alliances, developing high- quality products and new markets, quality-assuring its value chain, and building its brand will help it to continue to create value.
The Group will continue its work to deliver sustainable value creation via strategic business development, operational efficiency improvements, management training, and ongoing employee development. This work will generate growth and, based on customer preferences, ensure a continuity of supply, quality, and cost efficiency, with scope for increased profitability.
Improving operational efficiency at all stages of the value chain is an ongoing process aimed at further strengthening the Group’s financial and environmental competitiveness both nationally and internationally.