Arctic Fish hopes Iceland’s competition authority will take “sensible” approach in merger investigation

Arctic Fish’s CEO Stein One Tveiten has stated that he hopes Icelandic authorities will take a “sensible” approach in their investigation into a proposed merger between the owners of two of Iceland’s biggest salmon farmers.

Earlier this year, the Icelandic competition authority launched an investigation over a proposed merger between SalMar and NRS, which respectively own 51 percent and 51.3 percent of Arnarlax and Arctic Fish.

“We consider the Icelandic authorities to be more predictable and sensible, showing a positive approach on the importance of giving the companies the needed competitiveness and perspective of a continued buildup of a solid and robust industry in Iceland,” Tveiten told SalmonBusiness.

“Regardless of what the future brings around this, today’s focus is to develop Arctic Fish based on the objectives we are working on today. And this has not changed as it is today and not affected by what is going on in Norway so far,” he continued.

Tax concerns
Discussing whether Icelandic fish farmers are concerned about being hit by a similar aquaculture tax to their Norwegian counterparts, Arctic Fish Farm claimed the Oslo-based government had shown a “total lack of predictability” over its policy.

Tveiten, added that he was “very surprised” by the Norwegian government’s move and the level of the total tax burden proposed.

Looking at the situation in his own country, Tveiten stated that Arctic Fish Farm is always “worried in general regarding tax levels.”

Continued boom in fish farming
As a salmon farmer, Arctic Fish is facing similar challenges to its competitors in the sector and other industries, as costs rise amid an unstable global situation. “For us in Arctic Fish with a solid growth plan, we are focusing on utilising the scale effect and we especially see big potential in reducing costs within the harvesting part,” Tveiten said. “Also, on the market, we see possibilities for improved price achievement, both to the uniqueness of our product but also in our possibilities in the US market.”

Despite the pressure from international challenges, there has been a rapid growth in salmon farming in Iceland, with Arctic Fish Farm expecting that to continue in the coming years.

Future focus
In the next few years, Arctic Fish is focused on the remaining growth potential in existing licence capacity and expected licences, as well as ongoing investments in increase production capacity, especially in smolt and harvesting.

“The fundamental reason for the increased production in Iceland as we see it, is good environmental and biological conditions for salmon farming, together with capital that has a long-term perspective and knowledge and the authorities’ desire to develop this industry in dedicated areas in Iceland,” Tveiten said.

“Beyond 2025-2026 we expect the growth to level out some, with growth then more related to optimised production and bigger smolt, as well as governmental strategies for how further growth should take place,” he added.

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