Ex-Mowi boss Aarskog joins supply chain investor
Former Mowi chief executive Alf-Helge Aarskog has joined a newly formed seafood private equity fund as an industry adviser and board member.
Aarskog has also invested in the fund, Bluefront Equity, which will invest in supply companies that make the future seafood value chain more sustainable.
“It is very exciting to be able to contribute towards making a success of the first independent PE-fund that purely focuses on seafood,” said Aarskog. “Cooperating with talented people is both rewarding and interesting.
“At the same time, I hope that my experience can prove useful. The industry is at an early stage and there are many challenges that need to be solved through better use of technology. Bluefront can contribute towards this.”
Bluefront has been launched by Kjetil Haga and Simen Landmark, who were co-founders of aquaculture investor Broodstock Capital, now controlled by Ferd. Haga and Landmark exited Broodstock, which includes on-land salmon farm developer Billund Aquaculture in its portfolio, earlier this year.
“We have a team that has built up hugely successful seafood companies and know what it takes to succeed,” said Haga. “Together we will identify the suppliers that have the greatest potential to industrialise and professionalise the seafood industry in a sustainable manner.”
As well as Aarskog, Bluefront has recruited Jan Sverre Røsstad, who last year departed as long-standing executive vice president of feed producer BioMar. Røsstad will also act as an industry adviser and has also invested in Bluefront’s first fund.
Better fish health
In a press release, Bluefront said its objective is to invest in small and medium sized suppliers that make the future seafood industry more sustainable. The PE-fund wants to develop companies in cooperation with existing management and owners.
Bluefront is looking to invest in supply companies that contribute towards increased traceability, better fish health and welfare, enhanced quality of the end-product, improved hygiene, and increased digitisation of the seafood industry.
“Covid-19 has demonstrated how vulnerable food producing value chains can be, and we want to help strengthen the seafood value chain,” said Landmark. “We have also added some ‘spice’ to our investment mandate through some biological exposure, which is natural given Alf Helge’s extensive and unique biological competence.”
Haga and Landmark say they have already raised a three-figure NOK million sum for their first fund, Bluefront Capital I AS. Investment management company Klaveness Marine, the Steensland group plus industry experts such as Aarskog, Røsstad and Bjørn Apeland, the former owner of aquaculture supplier Steinsvik, are among the investors.
“We have already conducted a so-called second closing and are quickly homing in on our first investment. However, as a result of substantial interest from investors we will continue fundraising going forward,” said Haga.