Marine group confident of returning to profitability

A return to profitability is the aim of directors at OTAQ, the Lancaster-based marine technology group, they said today in announcing results for the nine month period to December 31, 2022, following a change to its year end.

Revenues fell from £4.292m in the 12 month period during 2021/22, to £2.561m in the latest nine month period. Consequently, the statutory loss rose from £1.9m previously to £2.30m due to the shorter time period and revenue being £1.73m lower than the 12-month prior period.

However, the company said it has £2.3m of cash, as at December 31, 2022, following the successful equity fund raising in November 2022.

OTAQ targets the aquaculture, geotracking and offshore markets. It already has a number of established products in its portfolio and is focused on further developing its presence, customer base and cross-selling opportunities within core markets, both organically and via acquisition.

Its aquaculture products, which include a sonar device to scan shrimp in ponds and water quality monitoring, are focused on maximising welfare and production yields. The company is also developing a potentially game-changing live plankton analysis product for finfish and shellfish farmers. It also continues to target opportunities in the acoustic deterrent devices market via its Sealfence product, which is used by salmon farmers, with global opportunities in Chile, Australia, Canada and Norway.

The Company is also developing high accuracy location trackers for specialist applications. Having already added clients within safety and multiple participant sport/racing applications, the company is investigating wider market potential – including opportunities in the seafood industry.

OTAQ’s offshore product range includes OceanSense subsea leak detection, Eagle IP camera systems, Lander seabed survey devices and Subsea electrical connectors and penetrators.

It is targeting a number of growth opportunities in new territories and has a strong client base including Expro, Amphenol and National Oilwell Varco. The company is also focused on the development of new products through this division, with the aim of increased cross-deployment of skills and technologies into the aquaculture arena.

Chief executive, Phil Newby, said: “Despite the declining revenue and increasing losses in the period, the group has taken steps to reposition itself during the year to ensure the business can return to growth and profitability without relying on its historically core product in the Aquaculture division.

“The Offshore division has performed well in the nine-month period with the Geotracking division not achieving revenue of significance, but continuing to develop new markets and products.”

He added: “OTAQ has ended the financial period with a strong balance sheet following the November 2022 share issue and renewed optimism that the group will be successful. OTAQ is continuing to enhance its portfolio of products in all divisions and is looking to penetrate new markets through additional sales resource over the coming year.

“Completing the commercialisation of our new products and continuing the growth seen in the Offshore divisions gives the directors confidence that the group will return to profitable growth.”