NTS looks to merge Norway Royal Salmon and SalmoNor, NRS CEO Charles Høstlund resigns

Published on
September 30, 2021
NTS ASA will seek to merge Norway Royal Salmon with its SalmoNor, now that it owns both entities.

Norwegian aquaculture group NTS ASA has notified the board of Norway Royal Salmon ASA (NRS) that it is resolved to initiate a strategic dialogue in relation to a potential combination of NRS and fellow salmon producer SalmoNor.

In August 2021, NTS became the owner of more than 70 percent of NRS, following a stiff competition with SalMar for control of the company.

SalmoNor is the result of the to-be-completed merger between Midt-Norsk Havbruk AS and SalmoNor AS, two companies which are 100 percent owned by NTS. A previous merger attempt – prior to NTS’ takeover of NRS – was called off in November 2020.

With a “good operational performance during first half of 2021,” SalmoNor is estimated to harvest a total 37,000 metric tons (MT) of head-on-gutted weight (HOG) salmon in 2021, NTS said in a notice to the Oslo Stock Exchange.

“NTS and NRS see significant synergy potential in combining the two companies creating a fully integrated, large-scale salmon farmer with an attractive license portfolio in top-performing regions,” it said.

According to NTS, NRS and SalmoNor combined will have a harvest potential of approximately 100,000 MT HOG in Norway and expected 24,000 MT HOG in Iceland through Arctic Fish. More details of a potential transaction structure and timing will be announced in due course, NTS said.

“Management in both companies see clear strategic rationale and value creation potential in combining SalmoNor's operational best practices with NRS' growth opportunities,” it said.

NRS CEO Charles Høstlund is to resign from his position as CEO, with NRS COO Business Development Klaus Hatlebrekke to step in as interim CEO. The appointment is effective immediately.

“As the company enters an initiation of strategic dialogue with NTS ASA regarding potential combination with SalmoNor, Charles Høstlund and the board is in an agreement that it is good timing for a CEO change,” NTS said.

Høstlund will continue as board member of Arctic Fish and associated farming companies in Norway.

NRS has 36,085 metric tons (MT) of maximum allowed biomass (MAB) for salmon farming in Norway’s Troms and Finnmark regions, and 17,800 MT MAB for salmon farming and 5,300 MT MAB for trout farming in Iceland through Arctic Fish. It also holds a minority interest in two associated Norwegian fish farming companies that together own nine fish farming licenses.

Photo courtesy of Norway Royal Salmon  

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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