Benchmark is headquartered in the UK and was founded in 2000 by a visionary and energetic management team that during the past couple of years has completed a number of acquisitions in Norway, Belgium and Iceland. Benchmark has approximately 900 employees across 27 countries and reported a 2016 revenue of GBP 109 million and an EBITDA before R&D expenses of GBP 22m. Benchmark is listed on the UK AIM list with a market capitalisation just north of GBP 500 million.
The global aquaculture industry has grown by approximately 9% annually during the past 15 years, driven by an increasing population, increasing incomes and high demand for healthy food. The growth in aquaculture going forward is expected to become somewhat more moderate, mainly because there across all species have been substantial challenges related to fish health and sustainability. The salmon farming industry has developed more solutions for maintaining biological control than farmers for other species. However, the salmon industry still faces challenges with sea lice, disease outbreaks, reducing harvest weights, a loss from mortalities and escapes of approx. 20% per generation, in addition to rapidly increasing costs related to treatments. For other aquaculture species than salmon, efforts are only just beginning in relation to securing biological control and sustainability.
Ferd believes that Benchmark is uniquely positioned to contribute with sustainable and cost efficient solutions for improving fish health across aquaculture species. Benchmark’s activities mainly focuses on three segments:
- A leading global position within sales of specialised feed and health products for shrimp and seabass / seabream through the subsidiary INVE. Benchmark delivers starter feeds for hatcheries, where there are particularly high quality requirements for growing robust fish
- A leading global position with salmonid breeding and genetics, through the subsidiaries Salmobreed and Stofnfiskur, where advanced genetic selection is applied in order to pick individuals that grow fast and are resistant to particular biological challenges such as sea lice. Within breeding and genetics, Benchmark has recently expanded into the market for tilapia and shrimp
- A major effort in developing treatments and vaccines. Benchmark has for many years sold the Salmosan sea lice treatment, and has since 2011 invested heavily into developing a pipeline of vaccines and for the construction of a state-of-the-art vaccine production facility. Benchmark launched its first in-house developed vaccine in 2016, and several launches are expected in the years to come targeting some of the largest challenges within aquaculture