Salmon giants “may split” to avoid new land tax

The fall out from the Norwegian government’s controversial salmon land tax proposal has continued with warnings in the country’s media that the industry could split up.

The broadcaster NRK reports that Robert Næss investment director of Nordea believes the companies will do everything they can to escape the tax which will affect the biggest players.

Næss commented: “The practical consequence will be that the companies could split up. There is no reason to pay 62% tax if you can get away with 22% tax”.

He predicted that large companies like Mowi will sell off parts of the business, meaning that “you get a bunch of smaller companies instead”.

The additional tax will only apply to companies that have permits to produce more than 4,000 to 5,000 tonnes a year. According to the government consultation document, 70% of companies produce below this limit.

The government’s proposal to introduce a ground rent tax of 40% in aquaculture for the largest companies is, according to the government’s calculations, to bring in up to NOK 3.8 billion (£319m) into the treasury annually.

Meanwhile, Kristin Strømskag, the mayor of Froya, home to SalMar founder Gustav Witzøe and where 30% of the population work in the salmon farming sector, told the financial journal E24, that the government had dropped a tax bombshell.

She said: “We have not yet had time to calculate the financial consequences for the municipality, but there is great concern about what this will mean for the industry that we make a living from.”

The mayor added that she was deeply concerned about the consequences for her community.

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