The warning came on Christmas Eve. At that time, a number of investment companies owned by the three Rørvik families Williksen, Bondø and Dolmen sent out a brief demand for an extraordinary general meeting to elect a new board in NTS.
The trio owns a total of around 26.5 per cent of NTS.
Not much more than that came out before Christmas, neither from the Rørvik families nor the main shareholder Helge Gåsø.
Come the New Year, the answer came from Gåsø. On January 11, he announced that NRS would buy NTS fish farming division Salmonor.
“Then we merge the fish farming division in NTS and then buy NRS. An agreement has been reached today,” Helge Gåsø told SalmonBusiness. He owns 37 per cent of the shares in NTS.
The new company would have a total production capacity of 124,000 tonnes of salmon, distributed among localities in Norway and Iceland.
“It is an agreement that has been adopted and signed and approved by the boards of both NRS and NTS,” Gåsø continued.
The agreement was thus adopted by the company’s boards.
But if a new board is elected at an extraordinary general meeting, it will be possible to change the decision for NTS. And then the billion euro agreement could be overturned.
SalmonBusiness has tried, but so far not succeeded, in getting a comment on the case from Helge Gåsø.
On Monday morning, it is clear that the three Rørvik families have brought with them many other actors to change Gåsø’s future plans for NTS. They represent more than 50 per cent of the shares in the company.
They will now offer NOK 105 per share in cash settlement for the fish farming company. The offer prices the company’s equity at NOK 13.2 billion (€1.3 billion) and represents a premium of 13 per cent at the closing price for the NTS share on Friday 14 January.
NTS ‘share price rises 13.4 percent, to NOK 105.50, just after the stock market opened on Monday morning.
One sentence in particular is central to today’s play:
The rationale for the offer is to seek to protect and further develop share values in NTS by continuing to explore alternatives for the company’s shareholders, including selling the shares.
Put another way; they want to buy up the company, and turn around and sell it to another player.
You do not have to look far to see who they have in mind.
A close candidate is SalMar, which in August was the highest bidder for the shares in NRS.
Other possible candidates are Mowi, Lerøy and Cermaq.
And then there may also be foreign stakeholders, such as Bakkafrost, Cooke Aquaculture or other industrial or financial players.