Stolt Sea Farm evaluating IPO

Published on
January 19, 2021

Stolt Sea Farm, which specializes in the land-based farming of turbot (Psetta maxima) and sole (Solea senegalens), announced last week that it is appraising an initial public offering for its business.

The capital raised will enable the company to consolidate and further develop its position as a leader in land-based aquaculture, and to roll-out its proven RAS and flow-through technology for the production of flatfish, it said in a press release.

Expert financial advisers ABG Sundal Collier and Pareto Securities have been engaged to explore a potential listing on the Oslo Stock Exhange for later in 2021.

Stolt Sea Farm is owned by publicly-listed Norwegian shipping, tanker, and container group Stolt-Nielsen. The intention is that the parent company will remain as a majority shareholder in the aquaculture division following the IPO.

Stolt Sea Farm is one of the world's biggest farmers of flatfish and currently produces around 5,700 metric tons (MT) of turbot and 1,570 MT of sole. It has been operating a farm in Anglet, France, since 2009; in Hafnir, Iceland, since 2011; and also has production units in Spain, Portugal, and Norway.

The company – which has developed customers through its Prodemar, King Sole, and King Turbot brands – has plans to increase its combined production by 24 percent to 9,600 MT by 2025, and by a further 41 percent to 23,300 MT by 2035.

Part of its success in raising flatfish is attributed to maintaining control of the juvenile supply, which is bred from the company’s own high-performing broodstock. This performance was in evidence earlier this month at Stolt’s new land-based sole farm in Cervo, Spain, when fish were able to be harvested almost two months ahead of schedule.

The first sole juveniles were also introduced to the company’s sister farm in Tocha, Portugal, in December 2020, and should be ready for harvest in January 2022. The two new farms will double the company’s production of sole, which finds a ready market in top retailers including Auchan and Metro in France, Coop in Italy, and Inglés in Spain.

Stolt Sea Farm has over 30 years’ experience in the aquaculture industry. The company was previously involved in salmon farming before selling its farms to Mowi, and is in the process of selling Sterling Caviar, its U.S. caviar operation. The company now has more than a decade of positive operational earnings before income and tax (EBIT) in turbot.

In 2019, it sold 8.3 million kilograms of turbot, generating 89 percent of Stolt Sea Farm’s revenues, and achieved operational EBIT-per-kilogram for whole-fish-equivalent turbot of EUR 1.70 (USD 2.05).  

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