AKVA's acquisition of Egersund Net will mean investment in Scotland, says Jason Cleaversmith. Photo: Egersund Net

AKVA Scotland boss predicts net gain from Egersund deal

AKVA group Scotland general manager Jason Cleaversmith has forecast significant investment in the Inverness-based firm following parent company AKVA’s signing of an agreement yesterday to buy Egersund Net.

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Jason Cleaversmith: "Broader proposition".

Cleaversmith said the deal would allow the aquaculture equipment supplier to offer a “disruptive” fully integrated cage package that includes nets, moorings and technology.

Norway-based AKVA, which is majority-owned by Egersund Net’s owner, Egersund Group, announced its intention to buy Egersund Net in May and signed the deal yesterday. The transaction is due to be completed by the end of August.

Cleaversmith said: “It certainly gives us a broader proposition, so that’s quite exciting.

“You can try operating and collaborating between two companies, and it’ll work to a certain extent, but if you really want to look at synergies and build a business based upon being able to offer a complete farming solution to customers, this deal allows us invest in how we look at integrating the net, moorings and cage and technology side of things.

“All of that becomes part of your offering, so that rather than somebody getting nets from one supplier and moorings from another and cages from us and technology from someone else, what hopefully we will be able to do is look at how all those things interface and optimise them so that there is a much better integrated solution offered to our customers, rather than a piecemeal approach.

“It probably will lead to significant investment in Scotland in order to build upon the offerings here. We’re doing our homework at the moment and looking at where there’s space in the market, how we might be able to be a bit disruptive with what we offer, and see if our customers wish to partner in exploring those opportunities with us.

“We’ve already done a couple of proposals and tender responses [offering a complete package] in collaboration with Egersund, but this obviously allows us to take it one step further. You need to have some infrastructure here on the ground to support that new part of the business, and Egersund didn’t really have that infrastructure in place in Scotland.

“There’s now the ability to explore that as part of the AKVA group. We can’t offer moorings and nets without having everything in place to support that.

‘Positive for Scotland’

“I think it’s positive for Scotland. If you’re a competitor it’s probably less positive, but it’s positive by way of investment and jobs and commitment to the sector and wanting to offer something unique in the marketplace.”

Yesterday’s agreement increases Egersund Group’s shareholding in AKVA from 51.1% to 62.1%.

In a statement yesterday, AKVA said the acquisition of Egersund Net represented a strategic milestone for the company, and that Egersund Net’s technology, products and expertise would be given access to a wider geographical area through AKVA’s global presence and distribution channels.

AKVA said it expected significant synergies, mainly within sales, both in the Nordic and in export markets following completion of the transaction.