OSLO, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Marine Harvest, the world’s largest fish farmer, reported a smaller-than-expected drop in preliminary fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday and said salmon output for the October-December period was higher than forecast.
The price of salmon has fallen in the last year as output from fish farmers has grown.
Operational earnings before interest and tax amounted to 177 million euros ($217.11 million), down from 259 million euros in the same quarter of 2016, but above a forecast of 172 million euros seen in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Output rose to 113,000 tonnes of salmon for the quarter from 99,600 tonnes reported a year ago and slightly beating analysts’ forecasts for 111,000 tonnes.
The Oslo-listed firm’s earnings margin per kilo of salmon was better than analysts had predicted for its operations in Norway and Chile, while those achieved in Scotland and Canada were lagging, the Reuters poll showed.
The company’s full fourth-quarter earnings report is due on Feb. 14. ($1 = 0.8153 euros) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Editing by Sunil Nair)