NorseAqua founder received €5.3 million in cash and shares when he sold the company to CageEye

Aslak Berge

Majority of the transaction was settled in CageEye shares when Lars Berg-Hansen (30) sold out of NorseAqua.

The annual report for Berg-Hansen’s holding company Grip Sjansen Invest shows a pre-tax profit of NOK 57.5 million (EUR 5.3 million) for 2019. The holding company had no other tasks other than owning Berg-Hansen’s shares in NorseAqua, the company he established at his home in Bindal, Northern Norway, shortly after he graduated in aquaculture at the University of Nordland in 2015.

It was announced in November last year that the Oslo company CageEye was buying up the aquaculture equipment supplier NorseAqua. The latter had a turnover of NOK 28.4 million (EUR 2.6 million) and an operating profit of NOK 5.8 million (EUR 0.5 million) in 2018. This means that CageEye paid values equivalent to ten times the operating profit for the shares in NorseAqua.

Lars Berg-Hansen, who is currently on paternity leave, did not wish to comment on how much he received for the shares in NorseAqua.

“I am satisfied with the settlement which was both in cash and shares – without going into exact distribution and sum,” he told SalmonBusiness.

However, the annual report read that the settlement was split into a cash amount of NOK 28.1 million (EUR 2.6 million) and shares in the two companies CageEye and Trond, for NOK 35 million (EUR 3.2 million) and NOK 10 million (EUR 0.9 million) respectively.

“CageEye has brought in talented people in NorseAqua, and it will be exciting to follow them on the way forward,” added Berg-Hansen.

It is not clear from the annual report what valuation the CageEye shares had in this transaction, and consequently, neither Berg-Hansens percentage of ownership in CageEye. Neither NorseAqua nor CageEye’s financial statements for 2019 have been made public.

SalmonBusiness could reveal yesterday that the company is reportedly close to a strategic partnership agreement with Microsoft and BASF, with CageEye’s parent company Bluegrove priced at EUR 210 million.

CageEye’s board member, and former SalMar CEO Yngve Myhre, would not comment on how CageEye is valued, where Bluegrove is registered or how far the company has come in negotiations with Microsoft and BASF. Myhre referred SalmonBusiness to CEO Bendik Søvegjarto or communications director Marloes Eshuis.

Neither Søvegjarto nor Eshuis have yet responded to SalmonBusiness’ inquiries.

Lars Berg-Hansen has not taken out dividends after the sale of NorseAqua. This means that at the end of the year, the debt-free holding company Grip Sjansen Invest was valued at book value of NOK 63.2 million (EUR 6 million).



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