Despite challenges in the market, Aker BioMarine increased revenues year on year by 24 percent, from USD 125 million to USD 155 million with 1,28 billion doses of Superba Krill sold worldwide in 2018. In addition, Aker BioMarine helped provide 325 million additional servings of seafood with QRILL Aqua and contributed to the fact that 850,000 dogs could enjoy eating dogfood containing QRILL Pet.
Aker BioMarine delivered a net loss of USD 1 million in 2018, driven by significant investments in new technology, science initiatives and people. These investments have been critical to reach the necessary scale in order to grow the krill segment in a very competitive global omega-3 market.
“From a business perspective, we met our targets for 2018 with robust performance in all our segments, despite some headwinds in the market. Costs increased more than I ideally would like them to, driven both by external factors, like high fuel prices but also internal elements in order to facilitate the rapid growth and development we are facing. As a result of this, we have strengthened and equipped the organization with the resources and tools required for future growth,” says Matts Johansen, CEO of Aker BioMarine.
The most eye-catching of these investments is the new, state-of-the-art vessel, Antarctic Endurance. Commissioned for NOK 1,1 billion (USD 140 million) Antarctic Endurance is the very first krill harvesting vessel designed and constructed from scratch. Built at the Norwegian shipyard VARD, it uses the latest environmental technology, which significantly reduces its CO2 footprint by up to 30 percent. Antarctic Endurance began operations at the start of the 2019 harvesting season.
R&D: the key driver of accelerating the krill segment
Dedicated to improving human and planetary health, the company also funded a number of new research and development projects.
For example, Aker BioMarine and the Lupus Research Alliance are working together on a new clinical study investigating how phospholipid-rich krill oil can benefit people with the autoimmune disease Lupus, with the aim to lessen the severity of the symptoms associated with the disease. Lupus is a complicated, serious and rare disease, and only one new drug has been developed in 60 years. The results from this ground-breaking clinical research study are expected in 2020.
Sustainability as part of its DNA
Aker BioMarine’s continued success is built upon its sustainability work which is a fundamental pillar of Aker BioMarine’s business. Committed to sustainable krill harvesting, Aker BioMarine uses its leading position to encourage support for new sustainability initiatives and the adoption of best practices within the industry.
For example, it was instrumental in getting the vast majority of krill harvesting companies operating in the Antarctic, onboard an initiative to voluntarily stop fishing in areas around the breeding colonies of penguins to protect Antarctic wildlife.
Aside from involvement in this important agreement, Aker BioMarine is also supporting the Antarctic Wildlife Research Fund (AWR) with USD 1 million over a period of five years. The grant will further strengthen AWR’s work on promoting and facilitating research on the Antarctic ecosystem.
“2018 was truly a landmark year for us. That’s before we even mention being awarded the most innovative company prize at the European Business Awards or launching the world’s first professional long-distance sled dog team,” Johansen concludes.
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Aker BioMarine is a biotech innovator and Antarctic krill-harvesting company, dedicated to improving human and planetary health. The company develops krill-based ingredients for nutraceutical, aquaculture, and animal feed applications. The company’s fully transparent value chain stretches from sustainable krill harvesting in pristine Antarctic waters through its Montevideo logistics hub, Houston production plant, and all the way to customers around the world. Aker BioMarine is fully owned by Aker ASA, an industrial pioneer since its establishment in 1841.