Bluefront Equity makes third investment, taking half-share of Akvasafe

Bluefront Equity, an independent private equity fund with a focus on the sustainable seafood value chain, has announced an investment in inspection and certification firm Akvasafe AS.

Bergen, Norway-based Akvasafe offers inspection and construction certificates, mooring and site analysis, and component certificates, as well as product certification for ocean-based aquaculture, vessel certifications, and technical reports. The company has 20 employees.

“We have delivered healthy organic growth since we were founded in 2012. Bringing Bluefront Equity onboard as shareholder means that we can ramp up our investment level – both organically and through acquisitions – to offer our aquaculture customers an even more complete range of services and products,” Akvasafe CEO and Co-Owner Ingve Karlsen said in a press release. “We look forward to accelerating our growth rate and creating even more jobs.”

The deal also includes Akvasafe subsidiary Sematek, a testing and inspection company for technical materials and components used by the aquaculture industry. The company also manufactures wave-breakers to provide calmer conditions for ocean-based aquaculture facilities, and has developed sensory and surveillance systems for monitoring of fish-farm moorings and leakage monitoring of floating structures.

“The people involved with Bluefront Equity have proven that they know how to scale up businesses, with the customers’ interests at heart. We look forward to cooperating with highly experienced and professional industry experts and investors,” Sematek Managing Director Tore Birkeland said.

As part of the deal, Alf-Helge Aarskog – the former CEO of Mowi and industry advisor and board member for Bluefront since November 2020 – and Bluefront Co-Founder Simen Landmark will join Akvasafe’s board of directors.

The investment is a combination of a share issue and purchase of shares from existing Akvasafe shareholders. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction; however, following the completion of the share purchase and share issue, Bluefront Capital I will own half the company, while the remaining 50 percent will be owned by Akvasafe’s founders and current owners, company, Birkeland, and Akvasafe Executive Chairman John Knudsen.

The deal will be completed by Bluefront Equity’s first fund, Bluefront Capital I, with investors including Havfonn, Nysnø Klimainvesteringer, the Anker family, Klaveness Marine, Steensland-gruppen, Commonfund, Cuberas, and individuals including Alf-Helge Aarskog, Aino Olaisen, Jan Sverre Røsstad, and Bjørn Apeland.

The Oslo, Norway-based fund was founded in 2020 by former Broodstock Capital partners Landmark and Kjetil Haga. It previously announced it has collected more than NOK 1 billion (USD 114 million, EUR 100 million) available for investment.

The fund primarily seeks to invest in small- and medium-sized companies that contribute towards increased traceability, digitization and industrialization, and better fish health and welfare in the seafood industry. It previously invested in ozone and oxygen specialist Redox AS and aquaculture oxygen and lighting solutions firm Bio Marine AS.

“The combination of being a pure-play seafood investor and a certified sustainability fund in line with the EU’s comprehensive taxonomy guidelines, a so-called Article 8 fund, has proven to be popular among groups of investors who want profitable and responsible investments,” Landmark said in a press release.

Photo courtesy of Bluefront Equity


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