Industry optimistic that salmon tax rate may be cut

Hopes are rising that the level at which the Norwegian government plans to levy its salmon tax will be considerably lower than first proposed.

Reports from Oslo suggest it could be around the 15% mark, less than half the 40% rate flagged up last September. Other analysts have suggested a rate of around 25%.

The brokerage house DNB Markets has said the sector should start to factor in a lower figure than 40%.

The speculation – and it is only speculation at the moment – has led to a sharp rise in some salmon company shares over the past week, notably those of SalMar, Mowi and Lerøy.

Britain’s Barclays Bank set new higher share price targets on all three companies yesterday.

Certainly, some of the gloom and doom which was around before Christmas seems to have lifted, with businesses talking of reviving investment plans.

As reported yesterday there is considerable opposition to the current tax proposal from both the political left and right, especially from coastal fish farm areas where the Centre Party, Labour’s coalition partner, is strong.

Much will depend on how far Finance Minister and Centre Party chief Trygve Slagsvold Vedum is prepared to bend.

So far he has insisted that his tax plan will go ahead, although he has conceded there will be concessions without saying spelling out in detail what they are.

With the consultation process over, detailed proposals are expected to go before the Storting, Norway’s parliament, in March or early April. That is when the real fight begins.


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