Gigante Salmon nets NOK 225 million in private placement; Swiss Blue Salmon closing in on RAS milestone

A man standing on a walkway at Gigante Salmon's flow-through aquaculture facility
Gigante Salmon raised NOK 225 million in a private placement to help fund the company's land-based salmon facility | Photo courtesy of Gigante Salmon
6 Min

Two land-based salmon-farming companies have achieved milestones in early June, as Gigante Salmon successfully raised NOK 225 million (USD 21.1 million, EUR 19.6 million) through a private placement and Swiss Blue Salmon announced it has reached a planning milestone for its salmon recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) in Mollis, Glarus Nord, Switzerland.

Gigante Salmon announced it was contemplating a private placement on 13 June, seeking proceeds of between NOK 170 million and NOK 200 million (USD 15.9 million and USD 18.8 million, EUR 14.8 million and EUR 17.5 million). Within hours of the announcement on the Oslo Børs, the company had already completed the placement, and investor demand was so high the company increased the fundraising total to NOK 225 million and is now contemplating a subsequent offering.

According to the company, investor Gigante Havbruk was allocated 20 million offer shares totaling NOK 130 million (USD 12.2 million, EUR 11.4 million). With the additional shares, Gigante Havbruk owns a 52.21 percent stake in the company.  

Gigante Salmon said the private placement is intended to fund the company’s projected investment and working capital needs for its land-based salmon farm on an island of Rødøy, Norway.

“The board is of the view that it will be in the common interest of the company and its shareholders to raise equity through a private placement, in particular because the private placement enables the company to secure equity financing to accommodate the company's funding requirements for construction of the Rødøy Facility on a short timeline,” Gigante Salmon said. 

The additional funding will help close a gap between the initial budget for the project and cost overruns. The project was initially budgeted to cost NOK 445 million (USD 51.8 million, EUR 44.2 million), but that estimate was increased by NOK 350 million (USD 32.5 million, EUR 30.1 million) and the overrun led Gigante Salmon to fire its now-former CEO Helge E.W. Albertsen and replace him with Kjell Lorentsen on an interim basis.

The company also faced the loss of 300,000 smolt, which made up roughly half of its January smolt release. According to the company, the loss was linked to delivery issues.

At roughly the same time that Gigante Salmon was launching its private placement, Swiss Blue Salmon announced it was closing in on a significant milestone for its RAS in Switzerland.

The Zürich, Switzerland-based company has dubbed its plans for a land-based salmon farm as the “world’s smartest” RAS farm, aiming to create a local aquaculture industry and mitigate the landlocked country’s reliance on seafood imports.

According to Swiss Blue Salmon, planning applications for its salmon farm in Mollis, Glarus Nord, are underway “on several levels simultaneously.” The company also confirmed that Glarner Kantonalbank will offer startup funding for the project.

"This project has the potential to provide a sustainable boost to innovation in Glarus, which is why the board of trustees has decided to support the start of this project," Glarner Kantonalbank Chair Urs P. Gnos said. 

The company has hired ERNE, a Swiss construction company, and Holinger, an engineering office, to help with the project. Swiss Blue Salmon said, so far, it has garnered CHF 170 million (USD 191 million, EUR 178 million) in investments for the project. 

The company said its land-use plan is currently in the approval process with the Canton of Glarus, and Swiss Blue Salmon said it will submit its building application later this year – aiming for autumn 2024.

"In order to create transparency and proximity, we will also organize a larger information event in Glarus North as well as smaller events in the 'Biäsche,'" Blue Salmon CEO Ruedi Ryf said. "We have completed the preliminary project and are working closely with the authorities for the upcoming building application. A three-dimensional model of the salmon farm is also part of the dossier." 

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