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Salmon farm earnings set to leap

The Scottish Salmon Company, which runs fish farms from Argyll to the Hebrides, expects a strong upside from higher salmon prices this year after enjoying a limited benefit from the rising price last year.

It has reported underlying full-year earnings before tax and interest of £3.3 million, against £500,000 for 2012, on 3120 tonnes less volume.

The company said: "This improvement is due to the significant increase in global salmon prices, albeit that the company was unable to take full advantage of the superior spot prices as a result of previously contracted sales."

Volumes are expected to rise to 27,000 tonnes. SSC said: "The planned contracted levels at 60% for 2014 provides opportunities to take advantage of the expected strong market by securing contract sales at significantly higher prices than 2013."

During the quarter, an additional licence was obtained in Greanamull in the Western Isles, with consent of 2400 tonnes .

The improving picture came despite a widening fourth quarter loss from £400,000 the previous year to £1m, as volume dropped from 8336 to 5271 tonnes. The year's harvest was 20,825 tonnes against 23,945 in 2012.

SSC said this was partly due to amoebic gill disease affecting juvenile fish in 2012, ongoing mortality issues at two sites in Gigha, and poor December weather.

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