The Norwegian Competition Authority has approved SalMar’s takeover of the NTS integrated aquaculture group. It has also given the green light to a merger between the salmon farming businesses of SalMar and Norway Royal Salmon.
The competition authority issued its long awaited statement at the weekend in which it said it had “contemplated” both proposals which were approved by the respective businesses two months ago.
While some industry observers thought that SalMar could become too powerful because most of its salmon farming activities are based in Norway, the competition authority approval for both deals was widely expected.
But there are further regulatory hurdles to jump, as the various proposals need to be approved by European and other authorities.
The Norwegian Competition Authority said: “While the Norwegian approval has been granted, the offer and the merger remains subject to receipt of further approvals from competition authorities, including the European Commission, and such other conditions set out in the Offer Document and Merger Plan, respectively.”
European Union approval is vital because Europe is Norway’s largest market for salmon and other seafood.
Meanwhile, shareholder unrest remains. According to the Norwegian financial website Finansavisen, Jan Petter Sissener, manager of investment firm Sissener, has issued a lawsuit against the NTS board, claiming that minority shareholders in Norway Royal Salmon have lost up to NOK 800 million (around £66m) by preventing the NRS purchase of SalmoNor.
Throughout the takeover process earlier this year, SalMar’s management warned that it would pull out of the deal if NRS and SalmoNor merged before it purchased NTS.