Mystery investor courts Alfesca – Fishupdate.com

Mystery investor courts Alfesca Published:  29 May, 2008

Alfesca is based in Reykjavik

A NON-ICELANDIC investor is poised to buy into Alfesca, the specialist seafood group which owns Farne Salmon and Trout in Scotland and Lyons Seafood in England.

It is thought that the bidder wants to put in around £40-million sterling – or some 48 million euros.

The name has not been disclosed, but it could be another seafood company or an individual looking for a good prospect in the business.

If successful, and the suggestion is that the bid should be completed in the next two weeks – it would mean the investor taking a 12 per cent stake in the company.

Alfesca, based in Reykjavik, has reported some excellent results in recent weeks – both for last year and for the first quarter of 2008.

Stability in the price of salmon, one of its main products, is thought to have helped. The company recently sold a Norwegian fish trading operation, but has bought into an Italian business, suggesting further expansion.

Glitnir Bank’s seafood department says the displayed interest is clearly good news for Alfesca. The new equity capital would improve the company’s ability to strengthen its operations.

Glitnir adds: “In addition, this is good news for Icelandic businesses in general as the Icelandic stock market has been limited by the low number non-Icelandic shareholders.

“Furthermore, it is notable that according to Alfesca’s announcement recent changes in the law on income tax, which include the abolition of taxation on capital gains on shares, the investor intends to establish a holding company in Iceland through which the shares in Alfesca will be held.”

This law was primarily intended to discourage Icelandic holding companies from leaving the country, but it is positive, says Glitnir, if it can also help to make the Icelandic business environment more attractive to foreign parties.

The next step must be to enable companies to list their equity in euros, a move which clearly would make Icelandic companies a more feasible option for foreign investors who dislike the idea of entering a position in a small and volatile currency.

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