ARNARLAX, Iceland’s largest fish farming company, has said it is working towards a listing on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
Company chairman Kjartan Ólafsson told the Icelandic newspaper Frettabladid that the completion of a 2.6 billion (Icelandic) kroner share capital increase and expanding its balance sheet should underpin further development. He hopes to register the business on the stock market within the next two years.
The Stock Exchange in Oslo has its own seafood index, which includes most major Norwegian salmon farming companies along with outside businesses, such as Bakkafrost from the Faroe Islands.
Such is the confidence in the salmon market these days – borne out by some strong second quarter results – that the seafood index has risen by more than 45 per cent over the past few months.
Founded in 2009, Arnarlax, which is part Norwegian owned through SalMar and others, harvested around 10,000 tonnes of salmon in Iceland last year and is planning further substantial growth.
The company is proposing to more than double current output to 22,000 tonnes by 2022. However, it suffered high mortality rates in the second quarter of 2018, and harvested just 1,000 tonnes compared to 2,800 tonnes in the same period last year.
The industry is young in Iceland but the country’s Marine Research Institute believes it can sustain a salmon farming operation of at least 70,000 tonnes a year without any damage to the environment, provided it is restricted to carefully designated areas.
Kjartan Ólafsson told Frettabladid that Arnarlax was well positioned for growth. He said analysts expected salmon growth to steady at around five per cent a year.
But it was also anticipated that the two largest players, Norway and Chile, will be approaching a production ceiling within the next few years.
This could give relatively recent players in salmon aquaculture, such as Iceland, considerable new opportunities.
Picture: Arnarlax chairman Kjartan Ólafsson