The week has started with a bang. On Monday morning, a number of shareholders, associated with three families in Rørvik, offered NOK 13.2 billion (€1.3 billion) for all the shares in the fish farming company NTS. They have already opened up to resell the shares they receive, if they receive a higher price than NOK 105 per share.
In August, Gustav Witzøe and SalMar were willing to bid NOK 270 per share – well above the main shareholder Helge Gåsø – for all the shares in Norway Royal Salmon (NRS). Since then, NRS has announced plans to merge with NTS’s farming subsidiary SalmoNor, based on board decisions in NRS and NTS.
Uncertainty has now been sown as to whether this merger will now be realized.
SalmonBusiness has not succeeded in getting a comment on the case from Helge Gåsø.
When owners who represent just over 50 per cent of the share capital in NTS will now bid, take over and possibly sell the company, there is tension associated with who may be willing to buy.
At the most probable buyer, SalMar, it is quiet.
Neither CEO and majority owner Gustav Witzøe nor CFO Trine Sæther Romuld have been willing to respond to SalmonBusiness’ inquiries on Monday morning.
Mowi, however, has done.
“You know we can not comment on such,” said communications manager Ola Helge Hjetland, when asked if Mowi is a possible buyer of NTS.
Nor will Lerøy’s CEO Henning Beltestad say much about it.
“We have no comment on that,” said Beltestad.
Cermaq also keeps the cards hidden.
“We register that there is speculation about NTS in the media, but we have nothing to report on that occasion,” said communications manager Lise Bergan.
SalmonBusiness has also contacted Bakkafrost for comments on whether the Faroese farming company, which has previously bought The Scottish Salmon Company, could be among the suitors.
However, it is not a given that traditional salmon farmers will be able to be the highest bidder for a controlling share block in NTS.
This autumn, for example, the Brazilian meat giant JBS took over the ownership of the Australian salmon farmer Huon Aquaculture.
Now NTS is in play.