ALMOST seven billion kroner (about £625 million) has been wiped off the value of a number of Norwegian salmon farming companies following a series of inspections by EU officials in Scotland and the Netherland last week.
The Seafood Index on the Oslo Stock Exchange has taken a huge hit during the last few days, with SalMar, Mowi, Lerøy Seafood and Grieg Seafood the companies hardest affected.
The European Commission inspectors moved in last Tuesday on suspicions of price fixing. As yet, the EU has not said whether it has found any evidence to back up its suspicions, other than stating it believes its cartel rules may have been broken.
Although Scotland was the focus of the raids, Norway was thought to be the target, but the country is not under the same EU jurisdiction as the UK.
The stock market reacted negatively immediately following news of the raids. Shares in Mowi and Grieg dropped by 2.6 per cent and two per cent respectively, but the fall in SalMar shares was down by more than four per cent at one point.
So far, the share prices of those companies that have not been at the receiving end of EU attention have remained firm.
Kolbjørn Giskeødegård, a seafood analyst at the financial company Nordea Markets, told the journal Dn.no that Norway Royal Salmon and the Faroese company Bakkafrost, which is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, had seen small price increases.
The Seafood Index rose by record levels last year and other analysts believe prices could soon recover if the EU suspicions remain just suspicions.
Bakkafrost shares may also have been helped by the news at the weekend that Russia has lifted a ban on salmon its flagship processing plant at Glyvrar, which had been affected by bacteria problems.
Picture: The Oslo Stock Exchange (Bors)