Fish farming veteran wants to produce 100,000 tonnes of land-based salmon in Portugal

Aslak Berge

Arne Gravdal has been working for many years to make his land-based plans happen. Now he’s trying again.

This time it is a brand new company, christened Maiken Foods, which will front the initiative. The Norwegian/Irish company, which was founded earlier this winter, is now chasing EUR 5 million in fresh capital to build a fish farm at the seaside resort of Figueira da Foz in Portugal.

The ambition is to produce as much as 100,000 tonnes of salmon in the planned RAS facility, a short road trip north of Lisbon.

The project is in size not unlike Quality Salmon’s large-scale initiative in Sweden. Here the investment framework is EUR 1.6 and EUR 2 billion.

20 million
For EUR 5 million, new investors will receive a 25 per-cent share of the start-up company, which gives it a EUR 20 million valuation.

“The investment will cover Capex and Opex for the first tanks leading up to harvest, as well as a feasibility study and pre-engineering for the 100,000-tonnes facility,” according to the press material SalmonBusiness has received.

This is how Maiken Foods envisions the facility in Portugal. Illustration: Maiken Foods

According to this material, the first tanks should be in operation during the second quarter of 2021. The first major “industrial-scale tanks”, which are already built, will come into operation in the fourth quarter of this year.

Arne Gravdal is the owner, founder and chairman of Maiken Foods. Maiken Foods was registered on a business register on the 8th of February, with a share capital of EUR 10,000.

However, it is not the first time Gravdal has hunted money for land-based salmon.

Arne Gravdal has for many years led Niri, which has run a land-based salmon facility, with a giant tank, in Scotland. It has not been an unconditional success. The company has lost a large amount of money since its inception in 2006.

Niri has since changed its name to Onshore Technologies. This company had a turnover of EUR 0.14 million and had an operating loss of EUR 0.15 million in 2019.

In November 2018, it was announced that investor and minicomputer entrepreneur Terje Mikalsen and partner Arne Gravdal received assistance from Fearnley Securities to raise EUR 4 million in a share issue. The new shareholders would then receive around a third of the shares in the company EFC Scotland, with the remainder owned by Mikalsen and Gravdal.

EFC had at this point taken over a smaller fish farm in Campbeltown, Scotland. And the plan was also to build a land-based facility, for 6,000 tonnes of salmon, at Lista, South Norway. This is, by the way, where Mikalsen is based.

SB has contacted Arne Gravdal and Maiken Foods for comment.


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