Helge Gåsø on NRS bid: “A fair price for those who want out of the company”

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Largest shareholder hopes for a better catch.

Late Wednesday night, it became clear that NTS was increasing its bid from NOK 209 to 240 per share for the fish farmer Norway Royal Salmon (NRS). Now NTS’s largest shareholder, Helge Gåsø, explains why the offer has increased.

“NTS ASA and myself were faced with the situation that we had two choices when we sold Ice to Måsøval, as we held more than 33 per cent in total. We could sell ourselves below the threshold, or sell the whole company. And at first we thought of selling down, but later we decided the opposite. And we came up with a plan and financing for this,” Gåsø told SalmonBusiness.

Somewhat low
“Mandatory bid price was NOK 209 per share. We passed on this. We already knew that it was somewhat low. And that is also the feedback we received.

The catch has been quite poor. With four days left of the original bid deadline, NTS and Gåsø have got hold of about 36.9 percent of NRS. Now the deadline is extended by ten days, and the improved bid should be able to shake out a lot more shares.

“NTS ASA wants to take a larger stake in NRS ASA. NOK 240 is a bid over most analysts’ target price,” Gåsø points out.

Challenge
“It’s a fair price for those who want out of the company. At the moment it is a price that is difficult to find a basis for, due to biological challenges such as ISA (Infectious Salmon Anemia) etc. But despite this we believe the potential is there and are signalling this by increasing the offer. And this gives a bid premium of over 40 per cent above the last price before the offer,” he noted.

“We hope then that those who want out have a very good alternative, and those who think there may be potential beyond that can sit. That’s how we see it.”

The new NTS bid for NRS prices the latter’s equity at NOK 10.56 billion (€1 billion).

ILLUSTRATION: NRS

“The evaluation of strategic opportunities will continue.”
In a statement related to the new offer, the NRS board states the following:

“The board of Norway Royal Salmon notes the announcement from NTS about increasing the offer price on the mandatory offer for NRS to NOK 240 and extending the offer period until 26 August 2021. The board will evaluate the revised offer in collaboration with its advisers and come up with a statement about the bid eventually. The evaluation of strategic opportunities announced on 21 July 2021 will continue. In any case, shareholders are encouraged not to accept the revised offer until the very end of the extended offer period (26 August 2021).”

On 9 August, a unanimous NRS board recommended that shareholders reject NTS’s offer of NOK 209. Following an increase of NOK 31, or 14.8 percent, the conclusion may be different.