Production trouble cooling RAS fever

Aslak Berge

All eyes are on Miami.

This winter, it reached fever pitch. New land-based aquaculture projects were launched weekly. Now interest in land-based salmon has declined quite noticeably.

The frontrunner in this segment, Atlantic Sapphire, gets to take their share of the blame. After a quarterly update that showed 60 per-cent maturation on the fish and a harvest volume far below that expected, the company’s share price has lost a lot of momentum on the stock exchange.

And when the frontrunner shows signs of weakness, investor interest in the other land-based salmon farmers also weakens.

Proximar Seafood, which will produce land-based salmon in Japan, presented its full-year results for 2020 on Tuesday morning. The share price fell by 8.5 per-cent. The result itself, of EUR -1.1 million, has limited interest at the time as the company has not started producing and selling fish. However, Proximar’s share price has nevertheless almost halved since the company went on the stock exchange in early February.

In fact, none of the five land-based salmon farmers on the Oslo Stock Exchange have increased in value so far this year. The picture does not change whether one includes Nasdaq-listed Aquabounty.

GRAPH: Infront

However, debilitating investor interest also affects non-stock exchange participants.

One of those who has invested offensively, with construction plans and capital raising, is Smart Salmon in Bremanger, Western Norway. The company was aiming raise EUR 8 million and go public in the second quarter.

However, they have only received half the money and have postponed stock exchange plans.

“We have raised NOK 40 million+ (EUR 4 million .ed) recently and are in the process of designing a 2,500 tonnes facility. We are working towards a new share issue and listing,” CEO Petter Bakke told SalmonBusiness.

Petter Bakke and his family have previously been involved with both salmon and cod farming.

IPO and financing through the equity market are particularly important in this segment, as banks have been measured in their willingness to finance land-based fish farms. This is not unlike the major investment in cod farming 15 years ago.

In mid-March, SalmonBusiness published a comprehensive industry report on land-based fish farms. Among other things, it is stated that there are plans, although not all of them are funded, for the construction of facilities for a total salmon production of 2.3 million tonnes.


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