The board of Norway Royal Salmon has called on shareholders to reject all current offers for the company.
NRS said in a stock exchange statement: “In the board’s view, the offer price does not reflect the underlying values in NRS.”
The announcement is a clear reference to the current takeover bid from NTS, which acquired 14% of NRS in June of this year, through the NTS subsidiary Midt-Norsk-Havbruk.
The NRS board is also advising shareholders that any acceptance of an offer from NTS would be irrevocable and could not be withdrawn if a better one should come along.
The statement adds: “The board will, together with the advisers, consider alternatives for the company and the shareholders.”
The announcement yet is another surprise twist in a saga that has been going on since last year when a merger between the two businesses was dramatically called off. Last Friday the integrated aquaculture company NTS put forward a mandatory offer to buy all outstanding share in NRS, as required by stock exchange rules, and it was generally assumed it was only a matter of time before a deal was agreed.
The offer, at around NOK 209 per share and runs until 16 August, is said to be worth nine billion krone (£938m). Some analysts say this is almost two billion (£164m) more than the target company’s current market value.
NTS chairman Odd R. Øie said the group’s eventual goal was to produce 100,000 tonnes of salmon through its involvement in the Norwegian aquaculture sector by acquiring a company (NRS) well positioned for further growth.
NRS, which expects to harvest 52,000 tones this year, said its board will, together with the advisers, consider alternatives for the company and the shareholders. NRS shareholders must say yes or no by the middle of next month.
The NRS board has now engaged Arctic Securities as financial advisor and Advokatfirmaet Wiersholm as legal advisor.