Chilean giants circle Friosur salmon unit

Aslak Berge

About 20,000 tonnes of production on sale for USD 200 million could stay in local hands

Chilean wild-catch and salmon-farming conglomerate Friosur is doing what it’s competitor Camanchaca has done and is putting its salmon business up for sale.

While Camanchaca hunts fresh capital and a listing in Oslo, Frisur has instead chosen a purely industrial sale. Chilean brokerage LarranVial has the assignment of selling salmon for Friosur, and the sales process has already attracted some firm bidders.

Read Chilean Friosur’s 20,000 t, concessions for sale

Not from Norway
“It fits like hand-in-glove for Australis, Nova Austral and AquaChile,” a well-informed corporate-finance source said.

Are Norwegian in on the bidding?

“No. They have more than enough to do in Chile. Neither Marine Harvest nor Cermaq are in it,” he told SalmonBusiness. Other Norwegian salmon-farmers — like Leroy, SalMar and Grieg — who don’t do have operations in the country are completely out of the picture.

Stiff price
He said that for now, the asking price of USD 200 million is considerably higher than, say, the Camanchaca salmon division that’ll be listed in Oslo.

“Camanchaca will go like a bullet after this pricing,” he said.

At least one private equity fund is understood to be interested in Friosur’s salmon production of 20,000 t a year. Another corporate source maintains that “the largest Chilean salmon farmers” together with a number of foreign private equity funds are believed to be parties interested in buying the Friosur salmon unit. Asked directly who thinks is the favourite, his answer is crystal clear: “Aquachile”.

Repeat attempt
Friosur is majority owned by the Del Rio family. Icelandic fisheries concern Grandi owns the remaining 20 percent of Friosur’s shares.

“They have tried to sell this many times before, but this is likely the first time they’ve tried doing it so formally,” the source said.

Friosurs aquaculture business lies in Chile’s sourthern Aysen region. The U.S. and Brazil are its main markets, with smaller markets in Europe and Latin America. Founded in 1985, the company is headquartered in Puerto Chacabuco.


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