GLOBAL - Marine Harvest is to sell its integrated salmon farming operations, Meridian Salmon Farms Limited, in the Shetland and Orkney Islands, Scotland, to the Canadian fish farming company Cooke Aquaculture Inc.
The operations have a combined harvest volume of 17.4 thousand GWT estimated for 2014. The agreed Enterprise Value (EV) is £122.5 million, which corresponds to an EV/kg of approximately NOK 70. Closing of the transaction is expected in the second quarter.
The divestment is a consequence of the remedies set forth by the EU Commission for the approval of the Morpol transaction in September 2013. The EU Commission required Marine Harvest to divest farming capacity on the Shetland and Orkney Islands. The agreement is conditional on the EU Commission approving that the purchaser and the transaction as well as the sales terms satisfy these remedies.
“We are always looking for strategic development and investment opportunities in the seafood sector,” said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Aquaculture.
“This purchase gives us a unique platform for our European operations and is a good fit with our Spanish sea bass and sea bream farming company, Culmarex. We will be able to leverage our global
relationships with suppliers and build on Meridian’s excellent market reach into both the European and US marketplace."
The majority of the assets included in the transaction have been booked as assets held for sale and Marine Harvest's volumes guidance will not be affected by the transaction. Based on the year end 2013 balance sheet, anticipated gain on the sale is approximately NOK 300 million. Final gain is to be determined upon completion of the transaction.
A completion of the sale is likely to increase the potential dividend capacity for Q1. The final Q1 dividend will be decided by the Board in connection with the Q1 result announcement planned for 30 April.
Arctic Securities has acted as financial advisor and Wiersholm and Brodies have acted as legal advisors in the transaction.
TheFishSite News Desk