Chasing fresh money in bone-dry market

Aslak Berge

Door opening has become noticeably narrower for those seeking funding for land-based fish farms.

On Monday morning, it was reported that Salmon Evolution’s board announced that it scrapped its plans for a EUR 50m share issue (to those of the shareholders not participating in the first one)

It didn’t make sense to follow up the share issue, since the issue price, at NOK 6, was above the exchange rate. Then investors can buy cheaper shares on their own.

The many land-based fish farming companies that are currently chasing money have noticed that the flow of money has become more elusive. The production problems at Atlantic Sapphire have contributed to a landslide in the share prices of those on the stock exchange, making it harder to get for newcomers.

High yield
Proximar Seafood has gained a lot of momentum in recent weeks. Together with Aqua Maof, the Bergen company will build a land-based fish farm in Japan. With a share price almost in free fall, the company has spent money in the bond market over the past two weeks.

Helped by Nordea Markets, Proximar is seeking EUR 60 million in a green bond loan, with a four-year maturity. The interest rate level, three months NIBOR (the Norwegian Interbank Offered Rate) + 8.5-9.5 per-cent, is in the category “high yield”, but the company has not received a hit so far.

“We have held many good meetings with investors related to possible bonds. It is too early to say anything about the outcome of this, as it is still unclear whether this is a structure that is preferred to us,” Proximar Seafood CEO Joachim Nielsen diplomatically told SalmonBusiness.

“I will be happy to contact you when we have concluded,” he added.

Before summer
Another player on a money hunt is Viking Aqua, formerly known as Sande Aqua. This autumn, the newly founded company announced plans to build a land-based fish farm for the production of 66,000 tonnes of salmon in Skipavika, Western Norway. The project has a total framework of between EUR 500 and 600 million.

At the end of October, truck empire owner Stein Inge Larsen said the following: “Our plan is: We have now raised NOK 10 million (EUR 1 million .ed) in equity. Then we will fetch NOK 20-30 million (EUR 2-3 million .ed) this winter. And then an IPO before the summer”.

“We are well-positioned for the plans we outlined in 2020,” Larsen told SalmonBusiness on Monday.

“So you’re going on the Q2 stock exchange?”

“We will provide you with information when we have the formality in place,” said Larsen.

He rejected that the share issue market has dried up for RAS facilities.

“That’s not true,” said Larsen.