History

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The Company was formed to set a new benchmark for sustainable living, starting with food production
Changing consumer preferences, stricter regulation and outdated methods of operation were putting pressure on food businesses and supply chains. Our founders Malcolm, Roland and Ruth’s unique combination of practical, scientific and corporate insight – and decades of experience – meant they were perfectly placed to develop solutions to meet these challenges.
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Establishing a practical base for sustainability science, Benchmark takes over the Oxford University commercial farm
Our approach is anchored in real-world, on the ground experience. That’s why we took over a 1,050-acre Oxford farming estate to launch the Food Animal Initiative (FAI) to identify the most pressing challenges and test the most effective solutions. FAI has gone on to become a ground-breaking centre for agricultural research and development, and a respected brand in sustainable agriculture consultancy.
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Spreading knowledge is as important as creating it - 5m Publishing joins the Group
As well as creating and applying knowledge, we believe in sharing it. We can only achieve sustainable living if the innovations and knowledge we create are embedded in everyday practice. In 2003, 5m Enterprises joined Benchmark and has since developed into one of the world’s leading international publishers of education and media to the livestock and farming sectors, with operations in the UK, China, Russia and the USA. Our websites include the industry-renowned ThePigSite.com and ThePoultrySite.com.
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Benchmark expands into the aquaculture industry to promote fish health and sustainability
As aquaculture continues its rise as the fastest-growing food producing sector and plays an important role in sustainable food production, we began working in aquaculture through the purchase of the Fish Vet Group (FVG). With disease as a significant barrier to sustainable production, not just in terms of animal welfare but also as an economic burden for producers, FVG has gone on to become the world’s largest dedicated aquaculture health provider with a footprint on three continents.
2006 Aug CROP GB
EXTENDING BENCHMARK’S FOOTPRINT AND INFLUENCE IN SOUTH AMERICA, WE ESTABLISH A COMMERCIAL RESEARCH FARM IN BRAZIL
Understanding of the fundamental biology of animals and their environments is core to our work - we put the animal at the centre of our designs and interventions. Building on the success of our research farm in Oxford, we opened a replica farm in Sao Paulo State.
2010 Apr CROP GB
ADDRESSING DISEASE CHALLENGE IN THE GLOBAL AQUACULTURE INDUSTRY IS CORE TO OUR WORK, TO TAKE OUR OFFERING TO A MORE GLOBAL MARKET FVG OPENED FOR BUSINESS IN THE US
Fish Vet Group (FVG) in Portland Maine opened for business in April 2010, closely followed by FVG Oslo Norway opening in 2013. FVG’s core global team of vets, pathologists, technical experts and diagnosticians are all connected via state-of-the-art histopathology scanning equipment which allows the team to share ultra-high-resolution images of histology slides to internal and external partners around the world, facilitating collaboration on a global scale. It also enables quicker, more accurate comparative analysis of tissues, using a suite of digital image analysis tools.
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To develop and manufacture preventative treatment methods for animal health, Benchmark acquires vaccine manufacturing plant from Novartis
Addressing the pressing need to reduce our global reliance on antibiotics, Benchmark takes over the UK Novartis veterinary vaccines plant serving the livestock, companion animal and aquaculture sectors. Our development team works closely with R&D and external customers to deliver state-of-the-art, effective vaccines that reduce the need for antibiotics.
2013 Jun CROP GB
Benchmark adds environmental management consultancy to the Group to expand its portfolio of sustainability services
Technical and strategic environmental consultancy, Allan Environmental joined Benchmark in summer 2013 strengthening our ability to drive forward environmentally sound sustainable business management and operations for our clients, and bringing on board new customers from across the food supply chain, animal health, chemical and waste sectors.
2013 Dec VetAqua CROP GB
Leading aquaculture health experts join the Group bolstering Benchmark’s knowledge and expertise in fish health, welfare and husbandry
Fish Vet Group strengthens its expertise and offering by merging with Ireland-based Vet Aqua International. Now with operations in the UK, Ireland, Norway and the USA, Fish Vet Group’s global presence encompasses diagnostic service, vaccine and pharmaceutical development, biosecurity products, and a wealth of knowledge on health, welfare, husbandry and environmental issues.
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BENCHMARK FLOATS ON LONDON STOCK EXCHANGE AIM MARKET
Benchmark Holdings floats on the UK AIM Stock Exchange on 18 Dec 2013, enabling us to do more of the things that we think are right to create a sustainable world for all.
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BENCHMARK GROWS ITS AQUACULTURE RESEARCH CAPABILITY BY TAKING ON THE INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED ARDTOE MARINE RESEARCH FACILITY IN SCOTLAND
To further our understanding of the fundamental biology of animals and their environments, the Ardtoe Marine Research Facility in Scotland became part of Benchmark, adding essential knowledge, expertise and research capacity to our sustainable aquaculture offering. We have since invested in growing a world-leading centre at the forefront of sustainable aquaculture design.
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Benchmark is nominated for Social Impact Company of the Year
Benchmark is nominated for two awards including Social Impact Company of the Year at the annual UK Small Cap Awards 2015 which recognises companies that have shown exceptional performance throughout the year. Speaking about the nomination, Benchmark CEO Malcolm Pye, said: “Investors and customers are increasingly concerned with the environmental and ethical impact of the businesses they back. Not just from a moral point of view but because it also supports companies to manage risk and reputation and can increase their competitive advantage. It’s great to see impact investing being recognised at events like this.”
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The sun no longer sets on Fish Vet Group, after opening offices in Thailand Benchmark is able to provide fish health services 24 hours a day
Fish Vet Group officially opens for business in Asia. The team’s ability to provide total aquaculture health services, coupled with proactive management support from aquatic health experts and dedicated laboratory technicians, make it a valuable part of the region’s growing aquaculture industry.
2014 Jul CROP GB 2
To advance animal health and productivity in the sheep industry, Benchmark launches Mydiavac and TheSheepSite.com
We respond to market demand with the launch of a new website, TheSheepSite, delivering news, technical insight and market analysis for people and businesses working in the global sheep industry. The same month also sees the launch of one of our flagship products, Mydiavac, an inactivated vaccine to protect sheep against enzootic abortion in ewes (EAE), a disease which can have welfare implications for the animals affected and a serious financial impact on sheep farms.
2014 Aug CROP GB
LONG-STANDING PARTNER MCDONALD’S UK LAUNCHES A MAJOR NEW TV ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN TO SHINE A LIGHT ON THE BENEFITS OF TREE COVER FOR FREE-RANGE HENS
The impact of our work with them is now felt beyond their UK supply chain, with a minimum of 5% tree cover for egg-laying hens now the industry norm in the UK.
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LEVERAGING OUR SCIENTIFIC EXPERTISE AND IN-HOUSE CAPACITY BENCHMARK BRINGS ON BOARD STATE-OF-THE-ART VLP TECHNOLOGY TO DEVELOP GROUND-BREAKING CAT VACCINE
Benchmark announces partnership with Swiss-based HypoPet to bring a breakthrough vaccine for cats, HypoCat, to market using new Virus Like Particle (VLP) technology. The vaccine works by neutralising the primary cause of human allergic reactions to cats which affects 10% of the global population.
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Benchmark raises £70m to fund expansion into aquaculture breeding and genetics
Benchmark raises £70 million from our investors to fund the purchase of two world-leading salmon breeding companies, moving us into the aquaculture breeding and genetics arena. The funds are also used to increase our vaccine manufacturing capacity in response to growing demand for our products and services.
2014 Dec CROP GB 2
The food chain starts with genetics - Benchmark strengthens position to impact global aquaculture completing acquisition of world leading StofnFiskur and SalmoBreed
World-leading salmon breeding companies, Norwegian SalmoBreed and Icelandic StofnFiskur officially become part of Benchmark, making us the second largest producer of salmon eggs worldwide and forming Benchmark Breeding and Genetics. The new division will drive improvements to animal health, welfare and efficiency by addressing key challenges through out the global aquaculture and livestock industries such as disease, metabolic disorders, reproductive performance and nutritional efficiency.
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Building on our e-learning platforms, CPD provider - Improve International - joins the Group to distil knowledge to the veterinary industry
Veterinary Continuing Professional Development (CPD) business, Improve International, joins our Technical Publishing division. The acquisition combines our digital and distance learning expertise with Improve’s successful face-to-face veterinary courses across Europe, in order to deliver content digitally on an international basis.
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Producing sustainable feed and addressing health challenges in the primary stages of aquaculture production, Benchmark moves into the nutrition market, taking on a pioneering algae production unit and team
We acquire Belgium-based TomAlgae, a pioneer in the development and production of freeze-dried microalgae for use as feed for shrimp and fish in aquaculture. The merger presents significant opportunities to develop technology exploring the capability of algae as a method of carrying vaccines and health products for aquaculture.
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Benchmark’s impact is recognised in LSE ‘1000 Companies to inspire Britain’
We are included in the London Stock Exchange’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report, celebrating some of the fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK.
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Benchmark expands genetic expertise into rapidly growing tilapia sector, to impact production, health and efficiency traits
Widening the reach and impact our of Breeding and Genetics division, we make a double acquisition of Norwegian-based aquaculture genetics and research company Akvaforsk and American-based Spring Genetics, moving us into the fast-growing tilapia genetics and breeding sector.
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With demand for salmon growing at 7% per year but production growing at 3%, Benchmark signs agreement to increase capacity of ova production by building state-of-the-art facility in Norway
One of our salmon breeding companies in Norway, SalmoBreed, sign an agreement with Salten Stamfisk to build a modern land-based production facility for ova in Salten, Northern Norway. The plant will be the first in Norway to hold the complete production cycle, from Broodstock to commercial ova, on land.
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Sea-lice costs salmon producers approximately $500m per year, Benchmark announces major breakthrough in breeding programme to produce salmon with increased sea-lice resistance
SalmoBreed, part of Benchmark Breeding and Genetics, announces a major breakthrough in the production of salmon that are more resistant to sea-lice and pancreas disease (PD) through a new genetic method in aquaculture called Genomic Selection. The method is expected to provide a significant advancement in resistance to both PD and sea-lice - as well as significant savings for the industry.
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The advanced nutrition sector is fundamental to the sustainability of aquaculture – INVE Aquaculture joins the Group
Benchmark secures the purchase of INVE Aquaculture, a leading specialist manufacturer of primary stage, technically advanced nutrition and health products for aquaculture. The acquisition, which was funded through the placing of new shares to new and existing intuitional investors, is transformative for Benchmark, doubling headcount and forming the fifth and final division – Benchmark Advanced Animal Nutrition. The enlarged group now serves customers and markets in more than 70 countries worldwide.
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Benchmark is featured in the London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’
For the second year running, Benchmark is featured in the London Stock Exchange Group’s ‘1000 Companies to Inspire Britain’ report identifying the UK’s most exciting and dynamic small and medium-sized businesses. CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group, Xavier Rolet: “There are more than four million SMEs in the UK. Within that number is a subset of exciting and promising companies of exceptional importance to UK economic growth and job creation.”
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Benchmark's aquaculture-health company, Fish Vet Group (FVG), rolls out its fish-health offering to customers in South America with the launch of a 13,500-square-feet state-of-the-art diagnostic lab in Chile.
"Placing a highly experienced and skilled team in Chile to provide a rapid-response service will allow us to quickly identify and manage disease outbreaks to support a healthier, more sustainable future for the industry." - Hernan Pizarro, FVG Managing Director.
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Benchmark's Ardtoe Marine Research Facility, on the west coast of Scotland, marks half a century of service to aquaculture by unveiling £4m renovation.
The enlarged facility, which houses the latest leading-edge technology, will operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, for 365 days, as a centre of research and innovation. Supporting the aquaculture industry in Scotland and further afield get to grips with the challenge of sustainability.
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Record numbers attend Benchmark's 'Aquaculture 2016' conference in Scotland.
"We already offer a range of education and related news and content for the industry. Aquaculture UK has been a tremendous base and we intend to continue to invest and support the event and the broader aquaculture market in the UK." - James Banfield, Director of Benchmark Technical Publishing.
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Benchmark seabass vaccine commences commercial field trials
"This product represents a significant first for Benchmark as the full development process including research, design, development and manufacturing, has been delivered entirely in-house by our specialist teams." Malcolm Pye, Benchmark Chief Executive
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Benchmark expands breeding and genetics offering to South America
Genética Spring is a pioneering Columbian shrimp breeding research programme combining fast growth rates with disease resistance.
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FAI Farms represents agriculture in the Parliamentary Review
The Parliamentary Review has become a key fixture in the political calendar. Issued to tens of thousands of leading policymakers, it acts as both a blueprint for success and a template for reform.
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Construction underway of onshore salmon broodstock and egg production facility in Norway
Benchmark’s SalmoBreed and Salten Stamfisk commenced construction of a new £33m broodstock and egg production facility in Norway. The final 10,000 square meter facility will have the capacity to produce 150 million eggs per year.
2013 Dec VetAqua CROP GB
Leading aquaculture health experts join the group bolstering our knowledge and expertise in fish health, welfare and husbandry
Fish Vet Group strengthens its expertise and offering by merging with Ireland-based Vet Aqua International. Fish Vet Group now has operations in the UK, Ireland, Norway, Asia, Chile and the USA.
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Blueprint for tackling sheep lameness wins science and innovation award
Benchmark vet Ruth Clements scooped the Oxford Farming Conference/RASE award in recognition of Benchmark's 5-Point Plan developed to tackle sheep lameness. The plan has been embraced by the UK’s sheep sector. The £10,000 prize money will be invested in implementing and monitoring the plan more widely.
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First International Fish Health Laboratory to Receive Accreditation from Sernapesca
Benchmark’s Fish Vet Group in Chile today announce they will join the list of official fish health laboratories recognised by the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca).
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Long-term agreement signed with SalMar ASA (“SalMar”) to provide genetics, health and knowledge services to the company, one of world’s leading salmon producers.
"We are delighted to sign an agreement with such a blue-chip partner in the salmon market. It is testament to our customers’ recognition of the benefits of our growing, integrated package of products and services, as well as our ability to enhance value for producers and contribute towards the overall sustainability of the aquaculture industry." MALCOLM PYE, CEO OF BENCHMARK
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Benchmark’s INVE signs an agreement that will result in a range of its tilapia products being distributed by one of Thailand’s largest quality tilapia fry and feed providers, Manit Farm.
The collaboration is built on the synergy between Manit Farm and Benchmark's INVE Aquaculture - part of the Benchmark Group since 2015 and a supplier of products that improve biosecurity and microbial management – both in the farms’ water supplies and in the gastro-intestinal tracts of the fish themselves.