Latest Results

Interim Results

 

OTAQ (LSE: OTAQ), the marine technology products and solutions group for the global aquaculture and offshore oil and gas industries, announces results for the six months to 30 September 2021.

 

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Highlights

  • Revenues for six months to 30 September 2021 of £1.8m (H1 FY21: £2.0m)
  • Restructuring of senior management team to increase focus on sales led strategy, including appointment of new Chief Commercial Officer
    • Positioned to enter new markets with new products and technologies
  • Actively engaged with Marine Scotland regarding regulation of ADDs in Scottish waters
    • Result of ADD trial anticipated in Q1 2022
    • Long term supply contracts with certain customers now ended
    • On-going discussions with Subpesca, the Chilean regulatory authority
    • Phase one of trial in Tasmania completed
  • 288 Sealfence units rented by Chilean customers in the period
  • Tracker technology obtained following the ROS Technology acquisition in November 2020
    • Clear pathway to commercialisation with prototypes delivered to a customer and trials being successfully completed
  • OceanSense 4 and Lander (seabed survey device) with first sales made for each product
  • Investment in Blue Lion Labs, a Canadian plankton detection business, to license its technology and develop plankton detection systems for use in the salmon market and other finfish sectors

Post-Period Highlights

  • Successful conclusion of a six-month ADD trial with a major Chilean salmon farmer
  • Multi-year supply agreement signed to support Minnowtech’s launch into Asia
  • 27 OTAQ sonars delivered to Minnowtech by end of December 2021 and an order placed for 100 more to be delivered in Q4
    • Increased visibility in the shrimp market highlighting strength of broadened portfolio
  • Order for tracking technology secured with expectation of around 600 units to be delivered to this customer in H2
    • Expected to lead to further sporting event tracking opportunities

Commenting on the results and prospects, Phil Newby, Chief Executive at OTAQ, said: “This was an extremely busy period for the Group - with the focus on commercialisation, product development and securing orders with a view to underpinning revenue visibility on the back of an increased product suite and routes to market.

“We have an exceptional technology set and are seeing increased demand in a growing number of geographies. The team has secured a number of new contracts and we believe that the momentum expected in the second half of the financial year will provide the basis for a step change as we move into the next financial period and beyond.”


Summary

The Group presents its unaudited interim results for the period to 30 September 2021.

These interim results are presented against the backdrop of an uncertain regulatory environment in the Scottish salmon market, OTAQ’s historically core market, due to an ongoing regulatory review by Marine Scotland, which has resulted in the ending of long-term rental contracts with certain customers. Accordingly, revenue has declined 10% compared with the same period last year to £1.8m, resulting in an adjusted EBITDA loss of £0.2m. Despite this, the Board believes that once the Marine Scotland position is concluded, indicated to be around the end of the first calendar quarter in 2022, the Group can deliver on the long-term strategic goals it has set out to deliver in order to realise OTAQ’s potential and significantly increase shareholder value. The focus is to develop the Scotland salmon market, drive growth in Chile, leverage the fledgling Minnowtech investment in shrimp that is now revenue producing, and develop other new markets and products. Offshore and Connectors are in healthy positions to deliver double digit revenue growth this year and beyond. The product development team has also demonstrated its capabilities with several key new products delivered, including the Minnowtech shrimp sonar unit, and new Offshore products. The expected launch of the harmful algal bloom detection system in 2023 is expected to be of significance.

In August 2021 Richard Beesley joined the Group as Chief Commercial Officer and his appointment completes the senior management team and now gives the required resource and experience to allow a more committed and focussed sales approach. This is integral to the Group’s strategy of penetrating new markets with new products and technologies.

Covid-19

OTAQ has adapted to the new working environments under Covid-19 precautions. The Connectors division was impacted in the first months of the period through labour shortages and supply chain disruption but has recovered well in the final four months. Travel restrictions, that are now being lifted, have made business development more problematic but there are signs this is ending with Chile allowing international visitors from the beginning of November and a recent Offshore trade show being well attended.

Strategy

The Group’s strategy is to build a business of significance within the aquaculture industry focussed on helping aquaculture farmers, including salmon and other aquatic species, to become more productive by helping them overcome environmental challenges in their operations and become more efficient through the use of data and technology. The investment in Minnowtech LLC has given the Group visibility over the opportunities within the shrimp market and the Group is looking to further develop its presence in the shrimp sector.

The Group is also now actively exploring its opportunities in Norway, the world’s largest salmon market, with a view to determining whether launching its operations there in 2022 is feasible.

Acquisitions

Acquisitions form a key part of the Group’s development strategy. In May 2021, OTAQ invested USD 300,000 in Blue Lion Labs LLC, a Canadian plankton detection business, for a 10% equity stake and a cooperation and licensing agreement to license its technology and develop plankton detection systems for use in the salmon market and other finfish sectors. Harmful algal blooms on salmon farms are a growing problem as the world’s ocean temperatures rise; economically it is a very serious problem for the global aquaculture industry with often very catastrophic losses resulting from algal blooms. There is therefore a very strong appetite for technology that alleviates this issue.

Innovation

Chris Hyde has now led all innovation for over a year following his appointment as Chief Technology Officer. New product launches have been delivered with the successful key development of Minnowtech LLC’s sonar achieved. The tracker technology acquired following the ROS Technology acquisition in November 2020 was fully commercialised in this period with prototypes delivered to a customer and trials being successfully completed. The product development team will now look to develop this technology for use in related markets whilst the business completes delivery in the second half of the year of around 600 units to the first customer. Other product launches include OceanSense 4 and Lander (seabed survey device) with first sales made against each product.

The development of the Live Plankton Analysis System (LPAS), intended to give salmon and other finfish farmers early warning of potentially catastrophic harmful algal blooms, is continuing with an expected launch in 2023. This project has been enhanced by the investment in and cooperation agreement signed with Blue Lion Labs LLC.

Regulation

Regulation of the industry worldwide is still evolving due to the introduction of novel technologies and the demands of governing bodies who oversee food standards. OTAQ believes that clear regulation is a positive force in aquaculture, maintaining standards in the industry and rewarding those who have invested in their technology and the biological science behind it.  The result will be a respected industry which limits the risk of under-invested competitors undermining competition.

As already detailed, OTAQ is actively engaged with Marine Scotland around regulation in Scottish waters but is also continuing discussions with Subpesca, the comparable Chilean authority. Phase one of a trial in Tasmania has been completed.

The Group also believes that Sealfence is compliant with the updated United States Marine Mammals Protection Act which will be fully enacted in January 2022. This will potentially open up the business development opportunities in North America and Norway as salmon exports to the USA are required to comply with the act which requires no marine animals to be harmed in the farming of salmon.

Trading

Aquaculture revenue has been adversely impacted in the period at £0.9m (H1 2020: £1.2m) and against £2.6m in the full year to 31 March 2021. The aquaculture division has suffered from the challenges of Covid-19 travel restrictions and the uncertainty in the Scottish market resulting from the Marine Scotland regulatory review. However, despite ongoing travel restrictions, progress has been made in Chile with 288 (30 September 2020: 130) Sealfences units being rented by Chilean customers at the end of the period. The successful conclusion in October 2021 of a six-month trial with a major Chilean salmon farmer has resulted in discussions about a further rollout to the customer’s sites. Chile also expects to see the final quarter launch of OTAQ’s mooring inspection offering, which will utilise the Offshore division’s Dragonfish laser measurement device, to provide a required service to ensure salmon farm moorings are operating as expected.

The Offshore division has performed well during the period with new product launches of OceanSense 4 and the seabed survey product, Lander, helping revenue to grow to £0.4m (H1 2020: £0.3m). The new products launched by the Offshore division, as well as the OceanSense agreement, are expected to help the division achieve double digit growth for the full year to 31 March 2022 of around £0.9m (2021: £0.5m).

The Connectors division moved into larger premises in November 2020 which has provided the required facility to help the division grow. Unfortunately, Connectors was impacted in the first two months of the year due to Covid-related supply issues and labour shortages but has recovered well in the final four months to achieve Revenue of £0.4m (H1 2020: £0.5m) and following several significant customer orders, is on track to exceed the sales of £0.9m achieved in the year to March 2021.

OTAQ’s investment in the shrimp industry through Minnowtech LLC will see additional revenue in the second half of the year with 27 sonars delivered to Minnowtech by December 2021 and an order placed for 100 more to be delivered in Q4. This will deliver over £0.2m of revenue. Minnowtech’s business plans forecast rollout of a high three figure number of sonars, which will be supplied by OTAQ, in the 2022 calendar year.

 

 

Financial Highlights for the six months to 30 September 2021

Group 2021
£’000
2020
£’000
Change
%
Revenue1,821 2,031 (10.3%)
Gross profit 826 1,139 (27.4%)
Adjusted EBITDA*(171) 385 (144.2%)
Net cash ** (1,286) 1,132 (213.6%)

 

*EBITDA (earnings before income, tax, depreciation, share option charges and amortisation) is reconciled from the statutory operating loss per the consolidated statement of comprehensive income as follows:

  2021
£’000
2020
£’000
Operating loss (747) (157)
Amortisation of intangible assets 120 69
Covid-19 grant - 108
IFRS 16 depreciation 77 43
Depreciation on property, plant and equipment 379 322
Adjusted EBITDA (171) 385

 

**Net cash is reconciled from the statutory cash position per the consolidated statement of financial position as follows:

  30 Sep 21
£’000
30 Sep 20
£’000
Cash and cash equivalents 1,160 1,939
Non-current lease liabilities (321) (277)
Current lease liabilities (155) (114)
Non-current financial liabilities (1,607) -
Current financial liabilities (353) -
Current deferred payment for acquisition (187) (270)
Non-current deferred payment for acquisition - (153)
Income tax asset 177 7
Net (debt) / cash (1,286) 1,132

Adjusted EBITDA declined to a loss of £0.2 million from £0.4m in 2020. This decline resulted from lower Revenue in the period but also a change in the sales mix as higher EBITDA-contributing aquaculture revenue was replaced in part with lower margin product sales. There was additionally no grant in this period as there was in 2020 (2020: £0.1m). Overheads increased in part due to increased research costs incurred that have been required in order to gain regulatory approval for the Tasmanian salmon market as well as ongoing research costs supporting the Marine Scotland review.

The net debt position of £1.3m is a result of the losses generated in the period as well as continued development of the Group’s research and development portfolio. Investment in Sealfence units has also continued as a result of the commitment to new Sealfences made in the first half of the previous financial year. In order to facilitate the development of the Group’s Live Plankton Analysis System (LPAS), an investment in Blue Lion Labs LLC, a Canadian company with specialty in plankton detection, was made in May 2021 for USD 300,000.


Outlook

The impact of the regulatory review in the Scottish aquaculture market is now being starkly felt and is evident in these results, and will impact the full year results. OTAQ is actively engaged with Marine Scotland and the Group continues to work towards the hoped for positive conclusion of this work around the end of the first calendar quarter of 2022.

As a result of the Group diversifying and developing its interests outside of the Scottish salmon market, Chile has seen growth in the first half of the year and the recent successful conclusion of a six-month trial with a major Chilean salmon farmer is expected to lead to increased growth in Chile in the second half of the year and beyond. The Group’s investment and collaboration with Minnowtech LLC has resulted in a multi-year supply agreement signed to support Minnowtech’s launch into Asia. Outside of aquaculture, the Offshore division has launched a survey product to support seabed surveys in the renewables sector with one unit sold already. The next iteration of the OceanSense product was also launched, named OceanSense 4, and is seeing strong interest with one unit sold for a large five figure sum. The Connectors division is now, although belatedly, benefitting from the move to new premises with a new six-figure order signed with an existing customer as well as multiple five-figure orders signed helping support the expectation of double digit percentage growth in the division.  

The Board anticipates that revenues for the full year will be broadly in line with the full year to 31 March 2021, although as a result of the challenges set out above, it is expected that higher costs will result in an EBITDA loss for the full year.  The Board remains committed to continuing business development and will continue to rigorously pursue its product development program during this period, although the timing and results of these from these initiatives cannot yet be predicted with certainty.

Phil Newby

Chief Executive Officer

 

The Board confirms to the best of its knowledge: 

-        the consolidated half year financial statements for the six months to 30 September 2021 have been prepared in accordance with IAS 34 Interim Financial Reporting amended in accordance with changes in IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements, as adopted by the UK; and 

-        that the Half Year Report includes a fair review of the information required by sections 4.2.7R and 4.2.8R of the Disclosure Guidance and Transparency Rules, being an indication of important events that have occurred during the period and their impact on the consolidated half year financial statements; a description of the principal risks and uncertainties for the remainder of the current financial year; and the disclosure requirements in respect of material related party transactions.


 

Condensed Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income

 

    Half-year ended
Notes 30 September 2021 30 September 2020
£000 £000
Revenue 2 1,821 2,031
Cost of sales (995) (892)
Gross profit  826 1,139
Administrative expenses  (1,573) (1,296)
Operating loss  (747) (157)
Finance expense  (105) (9)
Other income 3 93 108
Exceptional items 4 (122) (57)
Loss on ordinary activities before taxation  (881) (115)
Taxation  - -
Loss for the period  (881) (115)
Other comprehensive loss  - -
Total Comprehensive Loss  (881) (115)
Attributable to:    
The Group  (881) (115)
   

As per note 5, Losses Per Share were 2.8p (2020: loss 0.4p) and Diluted Losses Per Share were 2.8p (2020: loss 0.4p).

The loss for the period arises from the Group’s continuing operations and is attributable to the equity holders of the parent.

There were no other items of comprehensive income for the period (2020: £nil) and therefore the loss for the period is also the total comprehensive loss for the period.

The notes form an integral part of these condensed financial statements.

 

Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet

  Notes30 September 2021 30 September 2020   31 March  2021
£000 £000 £000
Assets     
Non–current assets     
Plant and equipment 1,466 1,393 1,548
Right-of-use assets  488 383 526
Unlisted investments  511 - 297
Goodwill  1,545 1,030 1,031
Intangible assets        1,634 1,304 1,924
  5,644 4,110 5,326
Current assets     
Inventories  1,068 1,155 899
Trade and other receivables  1,017 1,106 860
Income tax asset  177 7 286
Cash and cash equivalents  1,160 1,939 3,120
  3,422 4,207 5,165
Total assets  9,066 8,317 10,491
 
Liabilities
    
Current liabilities     
Trade and other payables  1,400 1,348 1,808
Deferred payment for acquisition  187 270 215
Leases  155 114 249
Financial liabilities 6 353 - 187
  2,095 1,732 2,459
Non-current liabilities     
Other creditors  - - 38
Deferred payment for acquisition  - 153 -
Deferred tax  176 90 176
Leases  321 277 272
Financial liabilities 6 1,607 - 1,813
 2,104 520 2,299
Total liabilities  4,199 2,252 4,758
 
Net assets
  
4,867
 
6,065
 
5,733
Capital and reserves     
Share capital 7 4,708 4,582 4,614
Share premium 7 2,905 2,892 2,897
Share option reserve  225 559 473
Merger relief reserve  9,154 9,154 9,154
Reverse acquisition reserve   (6,777) (6,777) (6,777)
Other reserve  297 - 136
Revenue reserve  (5,645) (4,345) (4,764)
Total equity  4,867 6,065 5,733

Condensed Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity

 

  Issued Equity capital Share Premium  
 
 
Share option reserve
 
 
 
Merger relief reserve
 
 
Reverse acquisition reserve
Other Reserve Revenue Reserve Total Equity
£000 £000 £000 £’000 £’000 £000 £000 £000
At 31 March 2020 4,582 2,892 559 9,154 (6,777)- (4,230) 6,180
Loss for the period and total comprehensive loss for the period - -  
 
-
 
 
-
 
 
-
- (115) (115)
At 30 September 2020 4,582 2,892 559 9,154 (6,777)- (4,345) 6,065
At 31 March 2021                4,614 2,897  
473
 
9,154
 
(6,777)
136 (4,764) 5,733
Loss for the period and total comprehensive loss for the period - -  
 
-
 
 
-
 
 
-
- (881) (881)
Issues of shares 7 8 - - - - - 15
Transfer on exercised options 87 - (248) - - 161 - -
At 30 September 2021 4,708 2,905 225 9,154 (6,777) 297 (5,645) 4,867

Condensed Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows

               Half-year ended
 30 September 2021
£000
30 September 2020
£000
Cash flows from operating activities     
Loss after interest and tax   (881) (115)
Adjustments for:     
Depreciation of tangible fixed assets   456 365
Interest expense   105 9
Amortisation of intangible assets   120 69
Shares issued as part of Share Incentive Plan   15 -
Changes in working capital:     
(Increase) in inventories   (169) (183)
(Increase) in trade and other receivables   (158) (199)
(Decrease) in trade payables and other payables   (448) (857)
Cash (outflow) from operating activities   (960) (911)
Tax credit received   109 49
Net cash outflow from operating activities (851) (862)
Cash flows from investing activities     
Purchases of tangible fixed assets  (336) (414)
Purchases of intangible fixed assets   (420) (251)
Acquisition of unlisted equity securities   (214) -
Payment for acquisition of subsidiary, net of cash acquired   - (82)
Payment of deferred consideration   (38) -
Net cash outflow from investing activities   (1,008) (747)
Cash flow from financing activities     
Loans repayments   (40) (638)
Grant funding received  93 108
Principal element of lease payments   (58) -
Interest paid   (96) (9)
Net cash outflow from financing activities   (101) (539)
Decrease in cash and cash equivalents   (1,960) (2,148)
Cash and cash equivalents at the start of the period   3,120 4,087
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period   1,160 1,939

NOTES TO THE FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

The notes are available in the printable pdf of the results. To download it, please click here