Gigante CEO out after further construction cost hike

Helge Albertsen, former CEO, Gigante Salmon

The CEO of Norwegian land-based fish farmer Gigante Salmon has left the company after a warning that construction costs for the completion of its site at Rødøy are now expected to be more than 50% higher than the previous estimate.

The news that CEO Helge E. W. Albertsen (pictured) has had his contract terminated broke this morning. Albertsen will continue to serve as an advisor to the company, while non-executive board member Kjell Lorentsen has been appointed as interim CEO.

Lorentsen was formerly CEO before the appointment of Albertsen in 2021. The company said: “The work to recruit a new CEO to the company has been initiated.”

Company shares dropped 20% on the Oslo Stock Exchange on the news.

Kjell Lorentsen, Interim CEO, Gigante Salmon

The latest projected cost increase is approximately NOK 350m (around £26m), taking the total investment needed to complete the facility to around NOK 995m (£73m). The forecast increase is mainly due to longer construction time, including costs for rigging and operation.

The company’s board, in a stock market statement, said the figures are still subject to control, quality assurance and dialogue with the suppliers.

The statement went on: “The cost increase will require new capital to the company. This work has been initiated. The plan is that the cost increase will be covered through a combination of equity and debt financing. In the private placement in October 2023, MNOK 100 more than the identified need at that time was raised.”

Gigante’s Rodøy site is based on RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) technology and has already been partially completed, with two batches of smolts released into the system at the start of this year.

In February, the company reported that its production targets had been scaled down following unexpectedly high mortality for its second smolt batch.


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