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Fish firm shrugs off sanctions damage

Marine Harvest has shrugged off damage from Russian sanctions that are hurting the fish-farming sector.

The Norwegian-based group, which employs over 350 in Scotland at 25 sites on the west coast, has been hit by share price falls over the past month after its biggest market banned some food imports from Western countries in retaliation for the sanctions in response to the Ukraine crisis. Its shares have fallen by 4.5 per cent over the past month, against a 2.2 per cent fall for the Oslo benchmark index, but chief executive Alf-Helge Aarskog said he was confident the business was well positioned to deal with the short-term challenges.

The company yesterday posted a pre-tax loss of 387 million crowns, depressed by a one-off writedown of 1.1 billion crowns (£112 million) on the fair value uplift of its harvested fish. But operational earnings before interest and tax reached 1.22 bn crowns, about double those reported a year ago.

Earlier this year Marine Harvest, which has a Scottish head office in Edinburgh, sold fish farms employing 194 people on Orkney and Shetland to rival Cooke Aquaculture for £122.5m.

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