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Sigurd Pettersen is stepping down as MD in December. Image: Rob Fletcher.
Sigurd Pettersen is stepping down as MD in December. Image: Rob Fletcher.

  Grieg Seafood has revealed that it has turned down a number of offers for its Shetland offshoot, and is now committed to retain its Scottish operations, much to the relief of its employees, finally ending months of speculation about the likelihood of the company being sold.  

Company MD, Sigurd Pettersen, told Fish Farming Expert this morning that: “We’re glad it’s over and all our staff are happy to have secured their futures with Grieg – they are pleased to remain within the group as they like the way we work.”

He adds that the whole process has been an unwelcome distraction from the company’s main priority – producing salmon.

“The last 2-3 months [during the bidding process] it’s been hard to concentrate on production, we’ve had to digitalise our documents, then consider bids from interested parties, then go through lengthy Q&A sessions – it’s not been easy and it’s cost us a hell of a lot of time.”

A press release from the company this morning suggests that the bids received were insufficient, stating: “Earlier this year GSF initiated a strategic review of its Shetland operations. In this regard selling the region, or a part of the region, has been considered. The Board has concluded that the bids received do not reflect the overall improvements currently being materialized in the region. Consequently, a sale will not be conducted now.”


Impressive Q2

The news comes on the day that Grieg announced its Q2 results – preliminary results show that its Shetland operations produced 2,900 tonnes at an estimated EBIT/kg of NOK 20 (£1.83).

Sigurd explains to Fish Farming Expert: “We would have been at that level a year ago had it not been for the algal blooms that hit us in August 2015, combined with prices hitting rock bottom in October last year.

“However, we harvested the last of the damaged fish in February and the recent fish we have harvested have grown well on much shorter production schedules – those we harvested in early May had only been at sea since mid-March 2015, while smolts we stocked in March this year are already at 1.5kg.

“Smolt quality is the key factor in this,” he concludes.


Looking good

Sigurd is optimistic about the outlook for the company’s Shetland operations.

“Prices are good, there are no looming disasters (although you never know) and we’re now harvesting at almost full capacity. Things are more or less going according to plan.”