Norway buys control of Cermaq

It’s official: Cermaq is now a government-owned company.

The Norwegian aquaculture firm, after spurning a buyout offer from its rival, Marine Harvest, announced today that its shareholders had sold 9.46 million shares to the government in an auction at NOK 108 (USD 17.76, EUR 13.52) per share, giving the government a controlling interest in the company.

Cermaq, in a statement, said the government also plans to buy 5 million more shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange at the same price. If all the purchases are finalized, the government will own nearly 55 million shares, or nearly 59 percent of the company.

Cermaq has been in the spotlight ever since it made an offer to buy out Peruvian fishmeal and fish oil producer Copeinca. Shortly afterward, Marine Harvest, in a move the company claimed it had been contemplating for a while, offered to buy out Cermaq, on the condition that Cermaq give up its bid for Copeinca.

Cermaq’s shareholders agreed not to pursue the purchase, but also rejected the Marine Harvest bid, with Cermaq’s board of directors only saying that they were seeking offers from other interested parties.

The Cermaq statement did not indicate what, if anything, was planned for the remaining shares, but the statement did indicate that some shareholders tried to sell their shares off at a higher price per share, but the Norwegian government declined to buy.


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