Competition watchdog gives salmon giant's merger plans the green light

Norwegian salmon giant SalMar’s offer to buy fish farming and shipping company NTS ASA has been approved by the Norwegian Competition Authority.

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SalMar has received acceptances for shares representing approximately 52.69% of the shares in NTS and wants 100%. It currently owns no shares in NTS.

The Competition Authority’s approval removes a potential barrier to the offer and to a planned merger between SalMar and Norway Royal Salmon, which is majority owned by NTS.

Further approvals

However, the Offer and the Merger remain subject to receipt of further approvals from competition authorities, including the European Commission, and conditions set out in SalMar’s offer document and the merger plan with NRS.

SalMar was Norway’s second largest and the world’s third-largest Atlantic salmon farmer by harvest volume last year, after Mowi and Cermaq.

The company harvested 170,500 gutted weight tonnes in Norway and a further 11,500 gwt in Iceland. It also benefits financially from its 50% ownership of Scotland’s second largest salmon producer, Scottish Sea Farms, although SSF’s harvest volumes are not incorporated in SalMar’s production figures.

Offshore ambition

The addition of the NTS and NRS Norwegian and Icelandic assets will immediately add an extra 90,000 gwt to SalMar’s annual harvest volume, with the potential for more. That would restore SalMar’s position as the world’s second largest salmon farmer ahead of Mitsubishi-owned Cermaq, which harvested a total of 191,000 gwt in Norway, Chile, and Canada last year.

SalMar, which pioneered offshore farming with Ocean Farm 1, also has big ambitions to increase production in Norway by farming in the open ocean. Its majority-owned subsidiary, SalMar Aker Ocean, plans to produce 150,000 gwt of salmon annually in offshore farms by 2030.