Norwegian fish farmer Marine Harvest has posted an increase in revenues for the first quarter of its year.

Operating revenues for the quarter reached NOK3.22bn (US$), an increase of NOK57m from the same period last year. Favourable market prices in NOK, more than compensated for reduced harvest volumes, the company said.

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) reached NOK101m in the first quarter, compared with a loss of NOK410m in the same quarter of 2008. Excluding an adjustment of NOK99m, restructuring costs of NOK49m and a loss from associated companies of NOK4m, the operational EBIT was NOK55m.

Substantial changes in currency rates and interest rates, with impact on debt in foreign currencies and valuation of interest rate hedges, contributed to net financial items of MNOK254m in the first quarter.

“With strong demand, increasing prices and decreasing costs, I have an optimistic view on the development for the rest of 2009,” said Åse Aulie Michelet, CEO of Marine Harvest.

“The business climate for the industry is developing well. Feed expenditures have fallen so far in 2009. With health benefits, affordability and convenience, the market position remains strong. The demand for salmon has kept up well and prices have developed favourably. In the coming quarters global supply will fall, with potential positive effects on prices. Marine Harvest is with increasing interest looking into ways to develop its product offering in order to meet the growing global demand for salmon,” Michelet said.

Going forward, Marine Harvest said it will maintain a “strong focus” on improved operational performance and developing best practice across business units. The board said it expects improved results for the rest of 2009.