SalMar, Aker form new offshore-farming company

Published on
August 26, 2021
SalMar ASA and Aker ASA have entered into a strategic partnership creating new global offshore aquaculture company, SalMar Aker Ocean AS.

Frøya, Norway-headquartered SalMar ASA and Oslo, Norway-based Aker ASA have entered into a strategic partnership creating new global offshore aquaculture company, SalMar Aker Ocean AS.

The establishment of the joint company is subject to conditions, and is expected to be ratified in the first quarter of 2022. Former SalMar CEO Olav Andreas Ervik will head the new company as CEO. Once it is approved and established, the parties also aim to list SalMar Aker Ocean publicly in the next year or two.

“Together, we can take the next technological leap for offshore farming, with a global ambition," SalMar CEO Gustav Witzøe said.

The new company will be “at the forefront of ensuring sustainable growth on the salmon's terms,” he said, “utilizing the potential of the ocean to produce healthier food, deploying digital technologies, cleantech, and using superior supplier industry capabilities at a critical time for ensuring sustainable food production in the long-term.”

SalMar and Aker, through their wholly-owned subsidiary, Aker Capital AS, will eventually own 66.6 percent and 33.4 percent of the joint-company, respectively. Aker will contribute up to NOK 1.65 billion (USD 187.2 million, EUR 159.1 million) in cash in three tranches. It will also continue the ongoing development work of offshore-farming operations including Ocean Farm 1, which recently completed its second production cycle. The two production cycles at Ocean Farm 1 have already produced 10,000 metric tons (MT) of salmon. To further accelerate growth, the parties say they will develop a next-generation semi-offshore unit.

The new entity will also continue development of SalMar’s Smart Fish Farms project, which has been part of a larger push by the company into the offshore sector. SalMar Aker Ocean will seek to streamline and digitalize offshore aquaculture facility construction and operation processes and will jointly seek approval for locations and licenses offshore, initially within the Norwegian economic zone and eventually internationally, it said.

"The aquaculture industry is at the cusp of a new, more sustainable era, opening up for a new resource base and with green production," Aker President and CEO Øyvind Eriksen said. "The new company combines Aker's leading industrial track record within offshore operations with SalMar's history as one of the world's largest and most-efficient producers of farmed salmon. We also share a vision for the potential of software, data, and analytics, and we believe we can join forces to take the next step to develop ocean farming, including using technology and joint industrial capabilities to protect ocean health, fish welfare, and promote sustainable growth."

SalMar Aker Ocean will also continue to develop the Smart Fish Farm technology to streamline and digitalize construction and operation processes and will jointly seek approval for locations and licenses offshore, initially within the Norwegian economic zone.

In the longer term, SalMar Aker Ocean will target growth in international markets.

Photo courtesy of SalMar ASA

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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