Norwegian fishery group Fjord Seafood saw its half-year results plunge to a loss of NKr96m (US$10.8m) as it paid the price of its ambitious growth plans and suffered from salmon prices at a record low.

In its six-month report, Fjord Seafood took a NKr71.5m charge for its debt-financed acquistions and reserved NKr53.8m for expected future losses for having to sell salmon frozen rather than fresh, which commands a higher price.

Last year, Fjord Seafood had a NKr39.6m net profit after six months. Sales in the first half this year had doubled to NKr1.6bn from NKr800m in the year-ago period.

Despite the half-year loss, company managing director Paul Birger Torgnes was upbeat in his comments: "There are bright spots at the horizon. Salmon consumption has increased dramatically on all our markets: with a 14% increase in Europe, 23% in the US and 32% in Japan."

He added he expected salmon prices to recover to more "normal" price levels this year, although he did not elaborate.

Mr Torgnes also defended the company's aggressive growth strategy, questioned by some finance experts, especially in these times with low prices.

"Had the price on salmon been more normal, everyone whould see the logic in this," he said in a written comment.

By Jerry Simonsson, just-food.com correspondent