Roger Halsebakk, whose Ronja Capital company now owns nearly 20% of Salmon Evolution.

Sølvtrans chief buys into on-land salmon farm project

Roger Halsebakk, the founder of wellboat company Sølvtrans, has become the largest shareholder of Norwegian on-land salmon farm developer Salmon Evolution.

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Halsebakk’s investment company Ronja Capital bought a 19.6% stake in the company in a share issue which raised NOK 258 million (£19m).

Salmon Evolution plans to produce 36,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon annually on an island off the coast using flowthrough technology with some re-use.

Click on image to enlarge. Table: Salmon Evolution.

‘Vote of confidence’

The investment round includes NOK 107m from shareholders.  

“The decision by the present shareholders to provide us with further capital is a vote of confidence,” said Salmon Evolution chair Kristofer Reiten in a press release.

“The experience and expertise possessed by the shareholder structure over the whole salmon value chain will make a big quality contribution to our future development.”

Ronja Capital highlighted the technology chosen in relation to growth opportunities, risk and return as the most important reasons for opting to become a shareholder in Salmon Evolution.

Low biological risk

“Low biological risk has been the biggest consideration for us in assessing investment opportunities in land-based aquaculture,” said Tore Tønseth, investment vice president at Ronja Capital.

“Our view of the company hasn’t changed, despite the fluctuations in the financial market over recent months. We’ve followed this project over a long time, and now want to contribute to the company’s continued development.”

Salmon Evolution chief executive Odd Tore Finnøy is pleased at getting such an industrially strong ownership in place.

Strong network

“We’re very gratified that we’ve attracted a number of industrial and well-capitalised shareholders with a clear foothold along the Norwegian coast and in our industry,” he said.

“Our success in securing this capital injection in the present financial climate is a clear confirmation of our robustness. A strong network, expertise and financial room for manoeuvre will contribute to very exciting progress for us.”

The first construction phase of the facility off Indre Harøy in Hustadvika municipality will cost NOK 1.3 billion. Work is due to start in the second quarter of this year, the first smolts are scheduled to be introduced in Q4 2021 and the first harvesting is due in Q4 2022.