Fish farmer Salmar beats forecast in Q3, reinstates dividend

OSLO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Norwegian fish farmer Salmar posted a surprise rise in third-quarter operating profits on Thursday and said its salmon output is expected to rise next year, while partly reinstating a previously cancelled dividend for 2019.

Salmar’s operating profit increased to 646.8 million Norwegian crowns ($71 million) for the July-September period from 613.5 million crowns in the same quarter last year, while analysts had expected a drop to 459 million crowns, according to Refinitiv.

The company maintained its output forecast of 164,000 tonnes of salmon for 2020 and set a goal of 177,000 tonnes next year.

It now plans to pay a dividend of 13 crowns based on last year’s profits, partly reversing its March decision to cancel a proposed payout of 21 crowns due to the uncertainty posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

“In addition to ordinary cash dividends, the company will also aim to return capital to shareholders through share buybacks,” Salmar said in a statement.

“The board considers SalMar’s financial capacity for further growth to be strong,” it said. ($1 = 9.1071 Norwegian crowns) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Kim Coghill)