Mowi to sue over salmon tax

Fish farming giant Mowi is to sue the Norwegian government over its decision to introduce a salmon ground rent tax, the company confirmed today.

CEO Ivan Vindheim said today the company plans to file a case against the state through the Oslo District Court because it believes the tax to be discriminatory.

Vindheim was one of the most outspoken campaigners against the tax, among salmon farm CEOs, since it was unveiled 11 months ago.

He told the newspaper VG.no: “We believe the bottom deduction linked to the salmon tax is discriminatory and in breach of the EEA rules and the four freedoms, including the free flow of capital.

“The government has been very clear in its rhetoric that it is the five big salmon companies that they want to hit.”

“We already had a ground rent tax model in Norway that worked excellently and was neutral when it came to the size of the companies. Now the government has introduced a system that is discriminatory. We demand equality before the law.”

When asked if he was challenging a political decision to take a little more from the rich to distribute the money to those with lower incomes, CEO Vindheim replied: “Yes, it is a shielding and it is not just about taking a little from the rich.

“We now get a completely different calculation, which means that we do not get to invest as much as we would like. Then it is not profitable to be big; a consequence is that the companies are split up and we get a structure that is inefficient. No one benefits from this.

“I think people understand that it is important to have reasonable framework conditions. The special thing is that they discriminate against operating efficiently and having many employees.

“We owe this to our employees, owners, suppliers and the whole of Coastal Norway. We cannot sit idly by and accept that the state is kicking the butts of development in this wonderful industry.”

He also maintained the government plans to hit foreign owners with the ground rent tax.

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