Christian Sørensen: "Our new ownership puts us in a very strong long-term financial position." Photo: Billund Aquaculture.

Norwegian fish farming families invest in RAS expert Billund

Danish recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) specialist Billund Aquaculture has attracted new money from a Norwegian investment group following the recent withdrawal of major shareholder Broodstock Capital.

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Under the new ownership structure, 35% of all shares will be held by Havbruksparken Utvikling AS and 13% by Okapi Salmon AS, owned by the Refsnes family, one of three Norwegian families with significant and long-standing interests in the aquaculture industry who are behind the investment.

They are:

  • The Refsnes family, which owns part of the salmon producer Refsnes Laks and is the founder of Columbi Salmon, which plans to produce 15,000-20,000 tonnes of salmon annually at a land-based aquaponic fish farm in Ostend, Belgium.
  • The Lofsnæs family, which owns the salmon producer Bjørøya.
  • The Rasmussen family, which also has major investments in real estate and the software industry.

Vast know-how

In a press release, Christian Sørensen, group chief executive of Billund Aquaculture and a member of the family that founded the company, said: “Bringing these experienced players into our company is very positive news, especially considering the vast know-how they have gathered in the aquaculture business over the years.

“Furthermore, our new ownership puts us in a very strong long-term financial position that will help keep us at the forefront of the global market for the development of large-scale RAS projects.”

On behalf of the new shareholders, director of investments Pål Berg said: “We are excited about investing in Billund Aquaculture together with the Sørensen family. The world’s need to produce protein in a sustainable manner means the future of the RAS industry is very promising. Billund Aquaculture is the most skilled and experienced supplier to explore those opportunities.”

Facilities in pipeline

Billund’s Danish and Norwegian units recently split, with Norwegian aquaculture investor Broodstock Capital taking ownership of Billund Norway, which will shortly be renamed, and the Sørensen family retaining the Danish operation.

The fresh capital means the companies will be in competition for work in the Norwegian market.

In today’s press release, Billund Aquaculture said the new investors will strengthen its operations worldwide, including in the Norwegian market, where the company has developed emblematic smolt and post-smolt projects for over 15 years. Billund has significant growth plans with several facilities already in the pipeline.