THE scale of legal action by the Scottish Salmon Company against its feed supplier emerged yesterday in accounts showing it is suing for £5.5 million.
The Edinburgh-based company, which is listed on the Oslo stock market, says poor feed affected the health of its fish last year and contributed to it slipping into the red.
Accounts filed with Companies House showed the company’s turnover was £82.4m in 2012, down from £90.3m a year earlier. It reported operating losses of £3m, compared to a £14m profit in 2011.
It said: “2012 was a particularly challenging year for the company with a quiet market, increased biological challenges and increased costs due to feed issues.”
The company said it has initiated court proceedings against Trouw UK, claiming damages of almost £5.5m. It says sub-standard feed impacted its fish harvest in the second half of last year.
Although that problem has now been rectified, the group still faces another difficult year as unseasonable weather in the Highlands last summer led to an “unprecedented” rise in amoebic gill disease among fish farm stocks.
The group said in its report that it lost fish from sites around the north west coast, Skye, Harris and Lewis. Most of the fish lost were due for harvest this year.
But the group said it was encouraged that prices were improving, while two new sites will raise production to around 29,000 tonnes from 2014 onwards. Volumes last year were 23,945 tonnes.
The company’s highest paid director saw their rewards double, from £123,700 in 2011 to just over £250,000 last year. Total headcount rose from 374 to 400 during the period, and staff costs climbed from £10.8m to £11.6m.