Can the NRS fight overthrow SalMar’s acquisition of NTS?

Aslak Berge

The minority owners are fighting tooth and claw.

It is a condition of salmon producer SalMar’s offer for all the shares in NTS that the 68 percent owned fish farming subsidiary Norway Royal Salmon (NRS) stops its acquisition of NTS.

The independent board of NRS believes they are legally bound to complete the acquisition and has announced a share issue of two billion kroner (€210 million). When SalMar’s CEO Gustav Witzøe found out about the issue plans, he said that he “was not aware of this.”

The board of NTS has now written a letter to the board of NRS with an ever sharper pen. On Monday, NTS announced an investigation into the process and demanded that the share issue process be stopped. There is an ice front between the parties, with NTS claiming that there is “absence of an open dialogue”.

On Tuesday morning, the independent board of NTS replied that they would not wait with the share issue.

“The independent board aimed to enter into an agreement with terms that would be attractive to the shareholder values ​​in NRS, with a special focus on securing the interests of the minority shareholders,” the report states.

“The board must think about the shareholder values ​​in Norway Royal Salmon,” NRS CEO Klaus Hatlebrekke told Dagens Næringsliv, emphasizing that the company has more than one owner.

SalmoNor has agreed to be sold for about NOK 8.3 billion (€870 million). According to the agreement, NOK 2 billion (€210 million) will be settled in cash, which will be raised via a share issue.

The chairman of the board of NTS, Nils Martin Williksen, admits that the issue can be stopped via a annual meeting with shareholders. “Yes, we can, but we hope that we avoid it getting there,” Williksen told DN.

Williksen believes that it is always better to negotiate than to trump issues and does not think this process should overturn SalMar’s acquisition.

SalMar’s bid for NTS prices the latter at NOK 15.1 billion (€1.6 billion).


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