Salmon hopefuls take Stock Exchange hit

Two salmon companies helped pull down the Oslo Stock Exchange’s share index yesterday with heavy share falls. Both are companies focused on RAS (recirculating aquaculture systems) production on land-based farms.

One was Salmon Evolution, which only 24 hours earlier announced it was making preparations for the second phase of its land-based salmon farm at Indre Harøy in south west Norway, allowing it to double output.

In a development that surprised a number of people, its share price dropped by around 10% yesterday.

But the main casualty was Atlantic Sapphire which is developing a large land-based salmon farm operation near Miami, Florida. This was despite a fairly optimistic progress report a few days earlier.

The company said salmon stocked into its RAS site in Florida in the middle of last year was now performing better.

Atlantic Sapphire harvested 300 tonnes of fish (gutted weight) during January and expects to harvest around 1,000 tonnes each at the end of the first and second quarters this year, with a total output of 10,000 tonnes from their current facility by the end of 2023.

Its share price ended the day down 10.7% at NOK 34.60 (£2.90) although at one point during trading its price fell by 12.7%.

Atlantic Sapphire has endured a difficult 12 months with a series of technical problems in early 2021 and a fire at its Danish site last summer. While prospects are starting to look up, investors may want more evidence before committing themselves.

Salmon Evolution, which will release its first smolt next month, is at the start of its journey. CEO Håkon Andre Berg said recently that with a company valued at NOK 3.3bn (£276m) before producing a single salmon, the pressure on expectations was starting to mount.



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