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Salmon farmer Grieg Seafood ASA has announced that the company is in discussions with a third party regarding a potential sale of Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK Ltd., the parent company of Grieg Seafood’s Shetland business.

In a market announcement, Grieg said discussions are ongoing and it will not make any further statements either before a definitive agreement is reached or when the discussions are ended.

The statement follows a report by Undercurrent News last night that Scottish Sea Farms, which is owned by SalMar and Lerøy, has had a substantial bid of NOK 2.1 billion (£177 million) accepted for Grieg’s operations in Shetland.

Increasing price

Grieg announced last year that it would sell its Scottish operations and concentrate its resources on Norway and Canada. It originally valued the assets at £125m but in its first-quarter report for 2021, published in May, Grieg said it expected to sell them for around £140 million before the end of the year.

Grieg, which employs more than 200 people in Shetland, has licences for 41 sites in the archipelago but has taken many of its more poorly performing sites out of use. According to the Scottish Government’s Scotland’s Aquaculture website, only 17 of the sites have been in use within the last three years.

The company also operated five sites on the north west of Skye, but recently ceased production there following biological problems which led to mass mortalities. The company said the distance between Skye and Shetland made it impractical to continue using the sites.

Closest fit

Scottish Sea Farms operates in Shetland, Orkney and on the west coast of Scotland, making it the closest fit for Grieg’s operations. The company has been contacted for comment.

Earlier this month co-owner SalMar raised £234m trhough a share issue issue. It said at the timethat it had a strong track record of profitable growth  through operational excellence, organic growth and strategic mergers and acquisitions and saw several attractive growth and investment opportunities.