Adidas’ largest owner increases stake in Mowi

Aslak Berge

Increases position after conversations with John Fredriksen.

Owen Capital, wholly owned by Groupe Bruxelles Lambert (GBL), on Thursday passed the threshold for five percent ownership in Mowi. GBL is a Belgian holding company listed on the Brussels Stock Exchange and is controlled by Gérald Frère, Ségolène Gallienne and Canada’s the Desmarais Family Residuary Trust.

Today’s purchase, of 774 shares, gives it a total of 28,855,556 shares in the salmon giant. This position had a value of EUR 492 million on Thursday. Only John Fredriksen and the National Pension Fund are bigger owners in Mowi.

“In a world of population growth, growing middle class and increased need for protein-containing food, there are few or no alternatives better than salmon. That’s why Mowi is an interesting investment,” said IR and communications director Sophie Gallaire of GBL to SalmonBusiness.

“They have been following us for a number of years and built up this position here. When they fit a threshold limit, it is to emphasise a long-term position in the company,” said Mowi chairman Ole-Eirik Lerøy, adding: “It is not every day that an investor of this calibre passing the five-per-cent threshold”.

This is a heavy shareholder now making its mark in Mowi. GBL’s capital is built on steel. According to Forbes, the Fréré family own large parts of the steel industry in Charleroi, southern Belgium.

“I know that they have approximately NOK 180 billion (EUR 17 billion .ed) in total assets, and have been listed for 60 years in Belgium. There are strong industrial families behind it. GBL is the largest shareholder in Adidas, SGS, the competitor to DNVGL, and major shareholder in (billion-dollar distillery) Pernod Ricard,” said Lerøy.

“They have used considerable resources to ensure the sustainability work in Mowi. It has been very important for them, and then I know they have had a dialogue with Fredriksen along the way, so it comes as no surprise to him that they reached the threshold”.

“As we perceive it, one can be called a lead investor in several environments. So we think this is exciting,” he added.


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