Arnarlax buys up Iceland smolt facility

The Eldisstöðin Ísþór smolt facility, Iceland, now owned by Arnarlax

Icelandic salmon farmer Arnarlax is strengthening its smolt operations following a key acquisition.

The company has signed a share purchase agreement for the remaining 50% shares in the Eldisstöðin Ísþór smolt facility in Þorlákshöfn (pictured) in the south of the country. Arnarlax was formerly a joint owner of the business.

The transaction will be subject to approval from Icelandic Competition Authorities (ICA). If approved by ICA, Arnarlax will be the sole owner of Eldisstöðin Ísþór hf.

The company said: “With this Arnarlax takes another important step in the strategy of increased smolt weight, allowing increased MAB (maximum allowed biomass) licence utilisation while reducing production time in the sea, and thereby biological risk.”

Arnarlax is a subsidiary of Icelandic Salmon, which in turn is owned by the Norwegian giant SalMar. It has also just announced a 114% increase in first quarter earnings to €37.1m (£31.6m).

It said the rise was the result of strong operational performance, continued strong price achievement and high capacity utilisation of the Group’s harvesting operation, supported by an increase in harvest volume which grew from 2,500 tonnes in the first quarter of 2021 to 3,400 tonnes in 2022.

The operational profit or EBIT also rose sharply, up from €400,000 in Q1 last year to €9.55m (£8.1m) this time.

This resulted in an EBIT per kg of €2.82 (£2.40), up from €0.15 (£0.13) for the same period 12 months ago.

The company said: “We started 2022 with a good price achievement and strong operational performance. We have been through winter months which show us that the mitigating measures implemented to prevent mortality during winter are working, even if we have seen some increased mortality on a few sites.

Founded in 2009, Arnarlax is Iceland’s biggest aquaculture company.