Cermaq in early merger talks with Aqua Chile – Fishupdate.com

Cermaq in early merger talks with Aqua Chile Published:  18 January, 2007

Geir Isaksen

NORWEGIAN fish farming group Cermaq said today it was in contact with the owner of Empresas Aqua Chile about a possible transaction.

“Discussions are at an early stage and it is not yet clear if there is a basis for an agreed transaction,” Cermaq said in a statement.

“Clarification of whether there is a basis to proceed from the opening discussions is expected over the next few weeks,” it said.

Shares in Cermaq rose 8.4% at the Oslo bourse to 103 crowns at 0925 GMT.

Cermaq is the world’s second largest fish feed producer and among the biggest farmers of salmon and trout. It has fish farming operations in Norway, Chile, Canada and Scotland.

“We have no comment beyond what we said in the statement,” Cermaq’s Chief Executive Geir Isaksen told Reuters, but added that the company aimed for growth in Norway and Chile.

Norwegian financial daily Finansavisen wrote on Thursday that the price of Aqua Chile could be around $1 billion, but Isaksen declined to comment on the price.

Aqua Chile is a Chilean company that covers the complete productive process of salmon.

Analysts regarded a possible merger as positive for Cermaq.

“This is positive, although it depends of course on the price,” analyst Nils Ove Kjerstad at Danske Equities told Reuters.

“Aqua Chile has been one of the most profitable companies in Chile. It has a good sales apparatus.,” Kjerstad said.

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