Lerøy Seafood rides waves

Bergen-based fishery company Lerøy Seafood stood out from competitors by turning a profit in 2001, despite a drop in turnover due to falling salmon prices.

Lerøy had pre-tax profits of NOK 56.2 (USD 6.3) million, up from NOK 51.8 million the year before. Despite turning a profit in a difficult year that cost many competitors money, the company was not satisfied with its return on financial assets. Results from associated companies spelled a deficit of NOK 1.5 million, compared to profits of 13.1 million the year before.

Lerøy has a wide range of products on its menu, and so managed to avoid the troubles suffered by those concentrating solely on salmon. But Lerøy is also banking on salmon, both in Norway and Scotland. Last year Lerøy bought into two Scottish salmon farming firms, including Scotland's largest, Scottish Sea Farms Ltd., where Lerøy is now a 50 percent owner.

Lerøy fears that market conflicts about salmon in the EU can damage the firm's short-term prospects, but aims to be listed on the Oslo stock exchange in the course of the year.