Finance minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has dashed hopes that the proposed salmon tax will be less than originally proposed. His announcement led to a fall in the value of companies that own Scotland's biggest salmon farmers.

Norway finance minister sends salmon company share prices tumbling again

Salmon tax WILL be 40%, says Vedum


The share values of the Norwegian companies that own Scotland’s two biggest salmon farmers slumped yesterday after Norway’s finance minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum dashed hopes that a proposed 40% tax on the industry would be reduced.

Shares in Mowi, which expects to harvest around 65,000 gutted weight tonnes of salmon in Scotland this year, and in SalMar and Lerøy, which jointly own Scottish Sea Farms, fell by around 7%.

For Mowi and SalMar, Vedum’s announcement resulted in a dramatic reversal of a steady climb in their values over the last few days.

Different tax model

At the end of January, Geir Pollestad, chair of the Norwegian Parliament's finance committee and a member of the Centre Party that Vedum also belong to, said in an interview that the way taxable income would be calculated would be different to the government’s initial proposal which relied on the spot price, a value that is not achieved for downgraded fish or those sold on fixed contracts.

Several large brokerage houses have also recently estimated that the tax rate will be adjusted down from the original proposal of 40% to 15-20% after signals from politicians and calculations of tax revenues.

SalMar chief executive Frode Arntsen this week told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site,, that the signals of a lower tax rate had led both SalMar and the industry to reduce the number of redundancies prompted by the initial tax plan.

No softening

However, a statement by Vedum in business newspaper Finansavisen yesterday sent salmon shares on the slide again. Vedum pointed out that the 40% tax model should apply, and not an alternative based on raising annual income of NOK 3.8 billion.

“We do not want a model which means that in a year with very low earnings you are taxed the same amount (as in better years), but that you should be taxed according to your ability (to pay, based on earnings). It is a good principle and that is what the ground rent tax (salmon tax) should add up to,” the minister told Finansavisen.

Alexander Aukner, seafood analyst at DNB bank, told E24 website that there are new signals from Vedum that the softening implied by Pollestad will not materialise.

“You could probably say that it would have been beneficial to have a little more coordinated communication in this matter. There are great values at stake here and it is important what is communicated,” Aukner said.

The stock market immediately reacted to finance minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum's comments, and the value of most listed salmon and trout companies went down again by approximately 7%. Share prices are back to where they were on 23 January before the chairman of the Parliament's finance committee, Geir Pollestad, announced that it was real earnings that should be used to calculate how much a company would be taxed - see red ring on the figures to the left. They show the development over the last three months for SalMar, Mowi and Lerøy. The figures on the right show the development on Tuesday 2 February, when Vedum countered.