Atlantic Sapphire founders sell off stock in company

Atlantic Sapphire Founder Johan Andreassen holding an Atlantic salmon
Atlantic Sapphire Founder Johan Andreassen | Photo courtesy of Atlantic Sapphire
2 Min

Atlantic Sapphire founders Johan Andreassen and Bjorn-Vegard Lovik have sold off their shares in the company.

According to a posting to the Oslo Børs on 5 July, Alsco, a Norwegian investment firm owned by the Andreassen and Lovik families and JEA Invest, another investment firm majority owned by the Andreassen family, both sold off stock in the company.

Based on the stock filings, Alsco sold 1,040,703 shares in the company at NOK 7.55 (USD 0.71, EUR 0.66) per share, for a total sales price of NOK 7.86 million (USD 741,000, EUR 684,000). JEA Invest, meanwhile, sold 107,377 shares in the company at the same price, worth NOK 810,696 (USD 76,400, EUR 70,600). 

Andreassen told SeafoodSource the shares are a “relatively small portion” of the overall company, as both investment companies have been diluting shares over the last few years.

“The reason for the sale is that Alsco needs to focus on capital allocation and attention in companies that it has operational responsibility for,” Andreassen said.

Andreassen announced in October 2023 he planned to step down from the roll of CEO of Atlantic Sapphire as soon as a successor was fully in place. The company announced in May that it was appointing Pedro Courard as its next CEO, and Andreassen said in the announcement that he will only remain in the position until Courard is fully relocated to Florida.

“I am very pleased that after a long and thorough process, Pedro Courard has been selected as my successor,” Andreassen said in the announcement. “Pedro has a strong operational track record within the Chilean salmon industry, and I am convinced that he will be a good match to lead the Miami operations and take the company to operational excellence in Phase 1 and beyond.”

Andreassen also told SeafoodSource that now that he is moving on, it was “natural for us to sell the stocks.”

He added that after the transition period, he will likely no longer have a role with Atlantic Sapphire.

The sale comes as Atlantic Sapphire secured reapproval for a USD 250 million (EUR 230 million) bond from the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. The company also said it plans to provide a USD 100 million (EUR 92 million) equity contribution in its push to complete Phase 2 of its land-based recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) Atlantic salmon farm in the city of Miami. 

The company has faced a number of setbacks at its farm, including temperature-related challenges that lead to it undershooting biomass targets. The issues caused the company to harvest just 1,545 metric tons (MT) of head-on gutted salmon in 2023, well below the 10,000 MT target it set for Phase 1. 

Despite the issues, in a Q1 2024 operational update, Atlantic Sapphire said that it has been seeing strong biomass growth across recent batches, lower mortalities, and stable farming conditions – including a stable temperature of 14 degrees Celsius.

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