“Salmon Evolution should actively use the capital market, so it is natural for it to be a listed company”

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Salmon Evolution, which wants to produce 36,000 tonnes of salmon annually on land in Norway, is planning stock exchange listing.

“During the autumn we will embark on new parts of the project, which will require more capital. Then we will either be listed on the stock exchange or raise capital from existing or new shareholders,” said chairman Tore A. Tønseth to SalmonBusiness.

According to the former seafood analyst at Sparebank1 Markets, Salmon Evolution, a major land-based flowthrough aquaculture project, is not relying on stock exchange listing to raise capital, but he expects it to happen by the end of this year or into 2021.

Tore Tønseth. PHOTO: Stian Olsen

“It is difficult to say when because it depends on the climate in the financial market, but Salmon Evolution should actively use the capital market, and it is, therefore, natural for it to be a listed company,” he said.

Surprised at advance pricing
In March, Salmon Evolution raised NOK 258 million (EUR 22.2 million) in capital and Ronja Capital, where Tønseth is the investment director, became its largest owner. Tønseth believes the issue amount is sufficient for what Salmon Evolution will do this year, or as he says: “It pays bills in 2020”.

According to the chairman of the board, there’s still about EUR 86.2 million to raise for the first construction stage, which costs between EUR 103 and 112 million. Fully developed, the plant costs EUR 276 million.

However, he is surprised by the advance pricing of Salmon Evolution in connection with the pre-money valuation.

“Pre-pricing was set at NOK 100 million (EUR 8.6 million), which must be said to be low considering how far the project has come and how much capital has been invested. But this was aimed at existing shareholders and a few strategic players, so pricing in this context is not so relevant. From Ronja Capital’s perspective, we had expected significantly higher pricing and were pleasantly surprised to be able to join this club deal,” said Tønseth.

Boots within a month
In a document SalmonBusiness has gained access to, it is stated that local excavation company Aco Anlegg is being used by Salmon Evolution.

Initially, the machine contractor will carry out preparatory groundwork for the project as well as mass relocation.

“We expect to start the groundwork within a month,” said Tønseth.

Nett.no has also covered the stock exchange listing plans.