SSC suitors ‘could come from outside industry’

Craig Anderson, CEO of the Scottish Salmon Company (photo: Angus Blackburn)

BIDS for the Scottish Salmon Company could come from outside the industry, a leading Norwegian seafood analyst has suggested.

As speculation continues to mount, Carl-Emil Kjølås Johannessen, who works for the Nordic financial services company Pareto, said there could be a number of potential buyers for the business, but ruled out Mowi as he believes it already has too much market share.

He told the Norwegian website ilaks.no there are likely to be a wide range of bidders, including from both outside and inside the UK and from financial players who currently have no connection with aquaculture.

Edinburgh based Scottish Salmon Company, which harvests around 30,000 tonnes annually, announced this week that it is looking to sell all or part of the business.

It said in a statement: ‘Among the options being considered within the framework of the review are several formal, non-binding expressions of interest to purchase part or all of the company that have been received by the company via its UK financial advisor Daiwa Corporate Advisory Limited.’

Many of the major salmon players, including Grieg, Cooke Aquaculture and Scottish Sea Farms, jointly owned by Leroy and SalMar, have been mentioned in various media channels as possible bidders.

The Faroese fish farmer Bakkafrost has also been flagged up, but the company is currently engaged in major investment at home and may consider the price too high.

Listed on the Olso Stock Exchange seafood index, SSC has a market capitalisation of NOK 4.82 billion or £447 million.

DNB Norway told Intrafsh yesterday that the company is being put up for sale because its main shareholders, which includes extensive Swiss interests, are looking for an exit strategy, adding they had turned the business around and now was a perfect time to sell.

The SSC reported a 33 per cent jump in earnings in the first quarter of the year, with revenue up 23 per cent, totalling £53.5 million. Exports accounted for 65 per cent of sales.