Pesky biological challenges hurt Grieg’s Finnmark operations in Q1 2024, as rumors of a sale swirl

“I am not satisfied with the fish welfare situation during the quarter."
A Grieg employee working at a farm in the Norwegian region of Finnmark
A Grieg employee working at a farm in the Norwegian region of Finnmark | Photo courtesy of Grieg Seafood
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Grieg Seafood has seen biological improvements across many of its farming regions to start 2024, but the group’s operations in the Finnmark region of Norway faced several challenges, including the Spironucleus salmonicida parasite and string jellyfish.

In the Bergen, Norway-headquartered salmon producer’s Q1 2024 report, CEO Andreas Kvame said along with low seawater temperatures, the challenges impacted fish health, welfare, quality, and survival rates.

“I am not satisfied with the fish welfare situation during the quarter,” Kvame said. “We have and continue to implement a variety of improvement measures, including a new vaccine against winter ulcers, a UV-filter against [the] Spiro [parasite], and sea lice treatment capacity with improved welfare. We are also making changes to our production planning and reducing biological risk as our post-smolt strategy is gradually rolled out in our regions.”

Kvame said it will take time to see the results of these measures, but throughout 2024, and especially by next winter, Grieg is expecting significant improvements.

Grieg's other farming regions saw stronger biological performance in Q1 2024, including Rogaland, where the company enjoyed reduced costs and better price achievement, Kvame said. 

In Canada, the company reached a milestone with the completion of its first harvest in Newfoundland

“We have proven that it is possible to farm salmon with good welfare, low impact, and high quality in Placentia Bay,” he said. “This is strengthening our faith in Newfoundland as a future, robust farming region, which will generate jobs and shared value to the surrounding rural communities.”

Still, Kvame said significant investments are needed to develop Grieg’s Canadian operations, and the search for long-term investment partners in the North American market, originally announced in November 2023, remains ongoing, Kvame said.

As the search for a Canadian partner carries on, rumors have begun to swirl that Grieg may be considering selling its Canadian operations – or the company as a whole. 

According to Norwegian business newspaper Finansavisen, brokerage firm Arctic Securities released a report titled “Could the entire group be sold?” following Grieg’s Q1 2024 results presentation, in which it speculates whether salmon-farming firms Mowi or Cermaq might be interested in acquiring all of Grieg’s operations. Other companies may only be interested in portions of Grieg’s operations, such as ... 

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