The consolidation of Norwegian fish farming companies continued this week with the news that Måsøval AS has bought 100% of the shares in the operating activities of Vartdal Invest AS, which include several aquaculture-related companies.
The purchase price is NOK around 1.5 billion – or £128 million.
The companies being acquired include Aquafarms Vartdal AS, Vartdal Fiskeoppdrett AS, Urke Fiskeoppdrett AS, Western Seaproducts AS (a slaughterhouse) and Vartdal Fryseri AS.
The Vartdal Group is a fully integrated breeder, and currently has four permits for the production of salmon in production area 5 (“PO5”) with a total maximum permitted biomass of 3,120 tonnes.
The company has its own production of smolt and post-smolt. Post-smolt production takes place on land in facilities with a flow of salt water. The post-smolt plant has a capacity of 670 tonnes of standing biomass which, potentially, should give an annual production biomass on land of around 1,400 tonnes.
Founded in 1972, Måsøval has its main base on Frøya in Trøndelag and is one of the pioneers of modern fish farming in Norway. Its activities take place in Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal.
Måsøval is owned 77% by Måsøval Eiendom which is wholly owned by the third generation in the Måsøval family.
The transaction values the Vartdal Group at a company value of NOK 1,521m, divided between NOK 1,441 million for the fish farming business and NOK 80 million for the slaughterhouse and freezer.
The transaction is fully financed through debt facilities from Måsøval’s central bank, DNB, as well as a share settlement to the seller in the form of 4,761,904 shares in Måsøval AS valued at NOK 42 per share.
Måsøval said: “The acquisition of Vartdal Gruppen will in the long run, with full utilisation of the resources, be able to provide Måsøval with an increased slaughter in PO5 of around 6,900 tonnes (HOG).
“This presupposes coordination with existing activities in the area and good utilisation of the post-smolt capacity that Vartdal Gruppen has established. The acquisition will then give Måsøval a robust operating unit in PO 5 with a total production of approximately 9,800 tonnes annually.
“Post-smolt will provide increased MTB utilization for all production in PO5, as well as reduced production time and biological risk in the sea phase. Måsøval and Vartdal Gruppen will coordinate routines for operation, planning and biological control to realise synergies.”