Charles Høstlund:

NRS boss Høstlund resigns as SalmoNor merger looms

Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) chief executive Charles Høstlund has resigned from his position, the company announced today.

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Klaus Hatlebrekke, currently chief operating officer business development, will act as interim chief executive, effective immediately.

Høstlund’s resignation comes just a few weeks after aquaculture, wellboats, shipping and service vessels company company NTS ASA bought a controlling interest in NRS, and on the same day that NRS appointed new board members.

NRS had been subject to a financial tug of war after a takeover offer from NTS. Board members said the price offered was too low, and salmon farming giant SalMar prepared a counter bid, forcing NTS to raise its price. NTS eventually triumphed when salmon farmer Egil Kristoffersen and Sons, the third-largest shareholder in NRS, agreed to sell its 10.51% holding.

Good time for a change

In a market announcement today, NRS said that as the company enters an initiation of strategic dialogue with NTS ASA regarding potential combination with SalmoNor, Høstlund and the board were in an agreement that it is good timing for a change of chief executive. SalmoNor is the result of a yet to be completed merger between salmon farmers Midt-Norsk Havbruk AS and SalmoNor AS, both of which are 100% owned by NTS. 

Combined, NRS and SalmoNor will have a harvest potential of approximately 100,000 tonnes (head on gutted) in Norway and an expected 24,000 tonnes HOG in Iceland through Arctic Fish.

Høstlund will continue as a board member of Arctic Fish and associated farming companies in Norway. He will for a transitional period remain available for the board and management team of NRS.

‘A privilege to lead’

“It has been a privilege to lead this team of colleagues for the last seven years,” said Høstlund in the statement. “Norway Royal Salmon is committed by its name and this commitment is truly visible in the way we interact both within the company and with customers and partners. I am proud of what we have developed and NRS is well positioned for future growth.”

Interim CEO Hatlebrekke said: “I am proud and humble to have been trusted to lead the company in this interim period and look forward to start the strategic dialogue between the companies. Our values, employees and investments form a good foundation for realising our potential.”

Helge Gåsø, chairman of the NRS board and the largest shareholder of NTS, said: “I would like to thank Charles Høstlund for his commitment and achievements and wish him the best of luck in future endeavours.”