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NTS scores late win in fight for Norway Royal Salmon

The battle to win control of Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) took a dramatic twist this afternoon when Norwegian aquaculture, wellboats, shipping and service vessels company NTS ASA emerged as the winner.

NTS made a mandatory offer of NOK 209 per share for NRS in July after increasing its stake in the company to 34.57% in a share swap but struggled to get many takers for the deal. Another salmon farmer, SalMar, was also preparing a voluntary offer of NOK 270 per share, made on the condition that it gained more than 50% of NRS.

With just a few hours of the NTS offer period remaining today, NRS said that NTS had received acceptance under the offer for a total of 1,557,858 shares, giving it a total of 40.6% of NRS shares and votes.

But this afternoon NRS said its board of directors had been informed that shareholders representing more than 10% of the share capital – including the third-largest shareholder Egil Kristoffersen & Sønner AS (Egil Kristoffersen and Sons), which owned 10.51% - intended to accept the offer from NTS at NOK 240 per share prior to the expiry of the acceptance period of the offer at 16:30 CET today. Egil Kristoffersen and Sons is a family-owned company that produces smolt and salmon in two municipalities in Nordland. It has licences for 4,728 tonnes maximum permitted biomass.

Changing the board

“Such acceptances will result in NTS ASA becoming the owner of more than 50% of the shares in NRS and will [mean that] the satisfaction of the minimum acceptance condition in the intended offer from SalMar ASA will not be achievable,” added NRS in a market statement. SalMar has since announced that its voluntary cash offer will not be launched.

NRS also said that NTS had today sent a letter to its board with a request for an extraordinary general meeting of NRS to consider the election of a new board and a new nomination committee, and revocation of board authorization for capital increase approved at the annual general meeting in May.

NTS wholly owns salmon farmer Midt-Norsk Havbruk, and acquisition of NRS – which aims to harvest 52,000 tonnes of salmon this year – would take NTS close to its goal of producing 100,000 tonnes a year within the next three to five years.