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Annual Report 2023: "Record year of organic growth"

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Never have we grown more organically in a single year that we did in 2023. We spent 2022 setting the stage for growth, and in 2023, we executed the strongest sales performance in our company’s 16-year history.

There’s no doubt – we asked a lot of our organization in 2023. We needed to improve and grow, and so we leapt into action mode, finding efficiencies, uncovering operational improvements, and responding to increased customer demand. The result was a smooth transition to an even more optimized and robust Aker BioMarine, which has put us in an excellent position as we embark on 2024.

Major wins put wind in our sails
One of our best success stories of 2023 was the turnaround of our Superba business. The team set the plan, executed it, and delivered some major wins during the year. Together, they drove a 36% year-on-year growth increase, with especially strong development in Asia, Europe, and Australia. In addition, our Superba Boost krill oil product was approved in Australia for medical claims as a dietary supplement, a strong stamp of approval validating the efficacy of Superba’s health effects. In addition, we received approval to return to the South Korean market, and we launched our first sales campaigns in September 2023. Our current Superba strategy is to focus on broader sales growth across the Asian markets, where we see China to be an especially exciting market for future growth.

We also experienced solid performance in our QRILL Aqua product category. We had stable revenue year-on-year and favourable developments in the fish meal and fish oil markets, which has opened more opportunities for krill meal/oil as the answer to the increasing scarcity of fish-based products.

During the year, our consumer goods brand, Lang Pharma Nutrition, experienced positive sales results, with an increase of 14% year-on-year. Key growth drivers were new product launches and generally solid demand for the existing portfolio of products.

In our emerging businesses segment, we launched our protein factory in Ski, Norway, and we announced our re-branded protein product, Understory. This was an important milestone for us, and it marks a step into new and exciting terrain in the nutritional supplement market for the food and beverage industry.

During the year, we implemented the ‘Ingredients’ improvement program within the company. This program aims to streamline operations, improve margins, cut costs, optimize cash conversion, as well as optimize procurement. In total, this program is expected to have annual recurring effects of more than USD 20 million, the majority of which were implemented in 2023.

Addressing challenges with innovation and determination

Though 2023 was a great year for Aker BioMarine, there are key areas in which we need to drive further improvements. Kori, our own brand in the US retail market, lost its distribution agreement with its largest retailer, which impacted sales significantly. Returning this product to growth will be a key focus for us in 2024.

We had a longer than planned shipyard stay in Q4, which impacted our ability to harvest that quarter and had consequences for the total offshore product for the year. However, we have high expectations for 2024. We have also implemented a machine learning and drone strategy that will help us harvest more efficiently. The drone is equipped with sensor technology to map ideal fishing locations. It went into operation at the start of 2024.

When the going gets tough, Aker BioMarine gets going
What we’ve learned from our recent return to growth is that we are a highly motivated organization, and no challenge is too big when we set our minds to it. This journey is a strong example of our team “grinding through” and living our values every day. Seeing what we are capable of has inspired us to adapt our values, making them more focused and reflective of what we stand for as a company today. Our three core values are now set:

  • We think outside the ordinary
  • We give trust and take responsibility
  • We have passion and grind through

These values have been at the root of our determination in recent years, and in 2023, we benefited from the strong foundation we had built, and we were able to capitalize on the increased market demand while continuing to streamline the way we operate. The pace was fast. The demand was high. And our people showed up and demonstrated that Aker BioMarine is focused, driven, and intent on staying at the top of our game.

Continuing our momentum in 2024
A more sharply focused and flexible Aker BioMarine was the target of our improvement and restructuring efforts in 2023. We re-organized the company into four clear functional areas, each with its own organization, strategy, and P&L accountability. These areas are feed ingredients, human health ingredients, consumer health products, and emerging businesses.

Our work to optimize Aker BioMarine is not over, and we plan to continue streamlining our business and building on the strong growth trajectory from 2023.

This growth wouldn’t be possible without the passionate team behind it. I want to thank all of you, at sea and on land, who spend your days finding ways to improve our operations, helping us to think bigger, and exhibiting a willingness to go above and beyond unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

Matts Johansen
CEO, Aker BioMarine