NTS offers £938m for Norway Royal Salmon

After months of speculation, the integrated aquaculture group NTS is bidding to acquire all the shares in Norway Royal Salmon.

The offer, at around NOK 209 (£17) per share, which is valid from today and runs to 16 August, is said to be worth nine billion krone (£938m), almost two billion (£164m) more than the target’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.

The saga dates back to November last year when a proposed merger between the two companies was abruptly called off.

Rumours that NTS was still interested persisted, however, and last month NTS, through its subsidiary Midt-Norsk-Havbruk (MNH), acquired a 14% stake in NRS.

Norway Royal Salmon shareholders now have until mid-August to say “yes” or “no” to the offer.

Norway Royal Salmon is expecting to harvest around 52,000 tonnes of salmon this year, with around 40,000 tonnes from Norway and remainder from its Icelandic interests.

NTS is already a significant player in the aquaculture sector. Through its subsidiary Frøy ASA, this includes extensive interests in the supply of wellboats and supply vessels. However, its salmon farming activities were relatively modest. That changed at the beginning of June this year when NTS beat off strong competition to buy the salmon farming business SalmoNor in a deal worth £250m.

A successful bid for NRS would put the group in a truly powerful position as a salmon producer.