Grieg NL, Ocean Choice form seafood JV

William Stoichevski

Bergen-, Norway based Grieg Holdings and Canadian frozen food player, Ocean Choice International, have agreed to together own Grieg NL, the entity spending USD 250 million to build the hatchery-to- processing project at Placentia Bay in Newfoundland.

The deal effectively creates a new, integrated seafood company in Eastern Canada with solid distribution links to North American markets and the Norwegian aquaculture expertise available in the Grieg Holding network.

“No. It’s not 50-50. They’ll have 20 percent. We’ll have 80 percent here in Bergen,” Per Grieg Jr. told SalmonBusiness over the phone, adding that the deal derived from a Memorandum of Understanding agreed around Christmas Day 2017.

“I can’t go into the details, but obviously they already have a strong presence in the international market and in added-value and processing, so we’re rejoicing to be working with them on those elements,” Mr. Grieg said.

Stalled project
Grieg NL in Newfoundland has been represented by Grieg NL Nursery Ltd. and Grieg Seafarms Ltd.. Grieg NL’s Norwegian shares are understood to be under the control of Per Grieg Jr. and parent company, Grieg Holdings, earner of pre-tax profit in 2016 of EUR 10.2 million kroner.

OCI, like Grieg, is a family owned and private company run by Chief executive, Martin Sullivan since its founding in 2000. In early 2017, they bought out there 49-percent owner, Landvis Canada.

The Marystown-, Newfoundland based Grieg NL had seen its project stalled in provincial courts after issuing what a judge deemed was an incomplete environmental impact assessment approved hastily by provincial authority. The court ordered a new assessment to the relief of the Province of Newfoundland, which had appealed on Grieg’s behalf, and Marystown officials, who had outwardly welcomed the investment.

“We will be cooperating,” Grieg said. “We’re also waiting for the final verdict before we’ll be free to start.”

For St. John’s company, OCI — hitherto, largely a wild-catch company will — Placentia will, when operational in an estimated three years, have access to a nearly unlimited supply of salmon from the project’s planned 35,000 tonnes annualy. It’ll also have the means for a new product range for increasingly popular salmon to add to its already vast offering of fresh and frozen whitefish, shellfish and crustaceans.

Grieg’s plans to begin building land-based facilities worth USD45 to USD60 million are now at least a year behind schedule. On hold, too, is a large, USD42 million Aqua Maof RAS facility to produce 1.8 million land-based smolt and juvenile production of up to 1.5 kilogram. A dozen Aqualine grow-out sites were also in the offing.