NRS is latest producer to pull investment over tax fears

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Norway Royal Salmon has become the latest big name to pull investment in protest against the Oslo government’s land tax proposal.

It has cancelled the purchase of 370 tonnes of biomass worth NOK 62m (£5m) and a planned NOK 400m (£33m) expansion of its smolt hatcheries, stating that the company sees it as too risky to go ahead in the light of the planned tax hike.

NRS, now part of the SalMar group, said in an Oslo Stock Exchange announcement today, that the cancellation was a board decision.

The statement continued: “This is caused by the Government’s proposal for resource rent tax of 40% making a total effective tax rate of 62%.

“Over the past few years, NRS has invested significant amounts in strengthening the value chain through a new smolt facility in Dåfjord in Karlsøy municipality, development of the sea locations and investing in aquaculture at sea through Arctic Offshore Farming.

“The introduction of a resource rent tax will lead to a significantly weakened investment ability for the company.

“For the time being, the company’s larger future investments are therefore being put on hold. This means that the planned expansion of the smolt facility in Dåfjord at NOK 400 million is postponed.”

CEO Charles Høstlund said: “NRS has a proud history, and over the years we have developed our farming activity in Troms and Finnmark.

“We want to develop the company further and create jobs at the coastal areas in northern Norway. We are always looking for growth opportunities, but now we don’t dare.

He added: “A good tax system must be both fair and predictable. The government’s proposal for resource rent tax is neither and puts new investments on hold all along the coast. Such unpredictable framework for the aquaculture industry means that the risk is considered as too high.”

The tax proposals will be set out in the national budget tomorrow.

Charles Høstlund

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