The Vartdal Group is a fully integrated producer, and currently has four permits for the production of salmon in Norway’s production area 5 (“PO 5”) with a total maximum permitted biomass (MTB) of 3,120 tonnes. The company has its own production of smolt and post-smolt. Post-smolt production takes place on land in facilities with a flow of salt water. The post-smolt plant has a capacity of 670 tonnes of standing biomass, well utilised this will give an annual production on land of approximately 1,400 tonnes of biomass (round weight).
The transaction values the Vartdal Group at a company value of NOK 1,521 million (€150 million), divided between NOK 1,441 million (€140 million for the fish farming business and NOK 80 million (€8 million) for the slaughterhouse and freezer.
The transaction was fully financed through debt facilities from Måsøval’s main bank, DNB, as well as a share contribution from the buyer in the form of 4,761,904 shares in Måsøval valued at 42 kroner per share.
The seller, Vartdal Invest, has accepted a lock-up for the consideration shares for six months from the date of completion of the transaction. Facilitators at the company’s listing, carried out in June, have accepted exceptions from the lock-up agreements entered into so that the company can issue the consideration shares to Vartdal Invest.
The acquisition of Vartdal Gruppen will in the long run, with full utilization of the resources, be able to provide Måsøval with an increased slaughter in PO 5 of around 6,900 tonnes (gutted weight). This presupposes coordination with existing activities in the area and good utilization of the post-smolt capacity that Vartdal Gruppen has established. The acquisition will then give Måsøval a robust operating unit in PO 5 with a total production of approximately 9,800 tonnes annually, according to a press release from the company.
Postsmolt will provide increased MTB utilization for all production in PO 5, as well as reduced production time and biological risk in the sea phase. Måsøval and Vartdal Gruppen will coordinate routines for operation, planning and biological control to realize synergies.
“With the acquisition of Vartdal Gruppen, Måsøval delivers on the growth strategy presented in the listing process in June 2021. This acquisition strengthens our position in PO5 and supports our strategy in several areas. We diversify the biological risk by significantly expanding our business in PO5. We ensure access to critical infrastructure in the form of good locations with low lice pressure and a good environment, post-smolt capacity and harvesting capacity,” said CEO Asle Rønning.
“I am satisfied with leaving my life’s work to Måsøval. Måsøval has good conditions for further developing the company and the workplaces. Måsøval’s existing volume in production area 5, together with the Vartdal Group, will ensure better utilization of premises, smolt facilities and slaughterhouses when this is eventually coordinated,” said sole owner Ottar Vartdal about the transaction.
The transaction has been approved by the board of Måsøval, but is subject to approval by the Norwegian Competition Authority, due diligence, as well as resolutions at an extraordinary general meeting in Måsøval that follow from the capital increase in connection with the consideration shares. Completion of the transaction is therefore expected to take place by the end of the fourth quarter. Notice of an extraordinary general meeting in Måsøval will therefore be sent with the expected time for the general meeting on or around 20 December 2021.
Måsøval a fish farming company with its main base on Frøya in Trøndelag. The company’s farming activities take place in Trøndelag and Møre og Romsdal. Måsøval is 77 per cent owned by Måsøval Eiendom, which is wholly owned by the third generation in the Måsøval family.