Salmon shares plunge as Vedum stands firm on tax

Salmon shares plunged on the Oslo Stock Exchange yesterday afternoon after Finance Minister Trygve Vedum drew back from earlier optimistic noises on the salmon tax.

He told Finansavisen and e.24, two of Norway’s leading financial news outlets that the original figure of 40% should remain.

SalMar shares fell by 10% at one point, while Leroy fell by 8% and Mow was down by 5%.

A few days ago Geir Pollestad, a fellow Centre Party politician and a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, said in an interview with the newspaper Dagbladet, that the government would approach the issue with an open mind, saying the 40% figure was off the table.

Salmon company shares shot up as a result of those comments with a number of brokerage houses speculating that the rate to could come down to 25% or less.

But Vedum said yesterday that was Dagbladet’s interpretation of the interview.

He told e24 that the government did not want to base the tax on a system where, in years when earnings were poor, companies paid the same amount as when revenues were at a high level.

The tax, as currently proposed, is calculated to earn Norway’s Treasury NOK 4bn a year (around £335m).

But Vedum also explained that the proceeds would change from year to year, adding that if profits were high the government, the salmon farming communities and the industry would benefit at the same time.

Vedum told Finansavisen more or less the same, stressing that the ability of companies to pay based on their profits would be the key.

Some amendments are expected, and his final proposal will be put before Norway’s Parliament, the Storting, late next month.



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