When salmon stocks are more valuable than cash

Editorial
452

CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog and Mowi spent a monthly results’ worth to secure K. Strømmen Lakseoppdrett. And 30 per cent of the settlement is dealt with shares at an all-time high.

Twenty years ago, Pan Fish boss Arne Nore was busy buying fish farming companies. OK-Fish, Norway Seafarms, Rolf Olsen and Seafood Farmers. Settlement was usually paid in shares.

At the time, Pan Fish shares – which shot like a bullet on the Oslo Stock Exchange – were considered to be more valuable than cash.

Today, Pan Fish is an important part of the salmon giant Mowi. Today, when Mowi notified the market of its acquisition of K. Strømmen Lakseoppdrett, 30 per cent of the settlement was paid out in Mowi shares.

Maybe not so strange is that Mowi is trading this week at its highest price level ever.

Strong currency
A healthy stock price is a strong currency and a potent means of acquisition. Yes, it is an important reason to be listed on the stock exchange.

Aslak Berge

But they have to accept that the price tag of EUR 82 million, or EUR 20.5 million per license, is the same as the current price record (previously set by the Nordland fish farmer Lovundlaks).

It is not often that salmon farmers are put up for sale. For Mowi, the fact that this particular asset was located in the middle of its own core area became decisive.

Many stakeholders
There wasn’t a lack of buyers interested in K. Strømmen.

Lingalaks, Firda Seafood, Coast Seafood/Blom Fiskeoppdrett and Godfisken (a joint venture of a number of smaller farmers in Western Norway) were all among those who took a sniff at the company. Though their limit, like most, including their banking connections, was somewhere between the region of EUR 72 and 78 million.

But, just like 20 years ago, it was financial muscles and flexible currency from the stock exchange that were decisive in this deal. EUR 82 million is no more than a monthly result for Mowi. There is a time to grow within the core area of salmon farming in Norway, and it definitely is now.