Industry reeling after Oslo announces new salmon tax

Norway’s Labour-led coalition government sent shock waves through the country’s salmon industry today by confirming it will impose higher taxes on the sector.

Full details will be announced in next week’s Budget, but it will be in the form of a new ground rent tax.

The news sent salmon shares plummeting on the Oslo Stock Exchange today, wiping billions of krone off their value.

Immediately after the announcement, Norwegian financial news website Finansavisen ran the heading: “Everything is going downhill – salmon shares are being slaughtered on the Oslo Bors.”

SalMar took the biggest hit in early trading, falling by 20%. Mowi and Grieg shares were down by more than 15%.

Announcing tax increases before a budget is unusual in Norway, but increasing political clamour and industry unrest seems to have forced the government into revealing its intentions early.
Large windfall taxes are also being levied on the country’s energy industry, including offshore wind.

The coalition government includes the Centre Party whose coastal mayors warned earlier this week against imposing extra taxes on salmon companies.

Its proposals include a 40% basic interest land tax on salmon aquaculture (and also trout farming) which is expected to generate revenues of up to NOK 3.8 billion (£325m) a year. It is thought only the companies with the largest floor space will face an increase.

The new taxes will come into force in January 2023.

The extra revenues will be shared equally between the national exchequer and the municipal sector.

The government said in a statement today: “It is reasonable that the community receives a share of the extraordinary return that is created by utilising these resources.”

Yesterday, some of Norway’s younger salmon farming executives joined the growing chorus against new taxes on the industry.

They included 27-year-old Hanne Lundberg (pictured), assistant general manager and part owner of the family salmon business Gratanglaks, who told the regional broadcaster NRK Nordland that any new tax would simply drain resources from firms like her own.

On hydropower, the government said today it is raising the basic rent tax from 37% to 45% and introducing a 40% rate on land-based wind power.


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