Cancellations of two land-based contracts hit aquaculture tech company Akva's first quarter earnings, despite a small earnings increase in its cage-based technology division.

Earnings before interest, tax, demortization and amortization (EBITDA) fell 11 percent to NOK 86 million (€7.7 million/$8.4 million), a reflection of a 12 percent fall in revenues to NOK 752 million (€67.7 million/$73.7 million).

Land-based earnings plummet

Akva's land-based technology division reported a 75 percent fall in EBITDA to NOK 3 million (€270,000/$294,000), based on a 34 percent fall in the previous quarter's revenues to NOK 79 million (€7.1 million/$7.7 million).

Order intake also plummeted 97 percent in the first quarter to just NOK 10 million (€900,000/$980,000), due to two sizable recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) projects being cancelled.

Despite this, CEO Knut Nesse said the pipeline of projects "continues to be strong," with the order backlog ending at NOK 605 million (€54.5 million/$59.3 million), just 4 percent down year on year.

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"On a global scale the whole quarter has been affected by the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus," said Nesse in an earnings statement to the Oslo Bors.

"In AKVA group we recognized early on the need for action," he added, saying several measures were taken to ensure the safety of employees and customers and to monitor the overall liquidity in the company.

"Although it is too early to tell the overall outcome of this crisis, AKVA group has seen moderate effects on ongoing business and has a high order backlog at the end of Q1 2020 when correcting for the cancellation of two major RAS deliveries," said Nesse.

Meanwhile, the company's cage-based technology division saw more positive results, with EBITDA up 5 percent to NOK 81 million (€7.3 million/$7.9 million), despite a 5 percent fall in revenues to NOK 657 million (€59.1 million/$64.4 million).

Europe, Middle East take strong lead over Nordics

Revenues in the Nordic region fell 18 percent to NOK 404 million (€36.4 million/$39.6 million), with order intake taking a sharp 28 percent downturn to NOK 269 million (€24.2 million/$26.4 million).

In the Americas, revenues maintained last year's levels at NOK 122 million (€11 million/$12 million), with order booking increasing, according to the company.

Meanwhile, Europe and the Middle East achieved a 79 percent increase in revenues to NOK 131 million (€11.8 million/$12.8 million), with operations in Scotland and Turkey and exports out of Norway showing particular strength.