Shetland-based salmon producer Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK (GSHUK) is being sold by its Norwegian parent to Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) for £164 million.
With operations on Shetland and Skye, GSHUK operates 21 marine farms, a freshwater hatchery and processing facility, with the business harvesting around 16,000 tonnes of salmon last year.
SSF is a joint venture between Norwegian firms SalMar and the Leroy Seafood Group, and has operations across mainland Scotland, Shetland and Orkney.
The Stirling-headquartered company produced about 24,000 tonnes of salmon in 2020.
SSF said its acquisition of the Scottish business of Grieg Seafood was a strategic move, aimed at delivering “optimal biological performance”. The expansion will also help the company meet growing demand for its “premium quality”, Scottish-grown salmon, it added.
Jim Gallagher, chief executive, SSF said: “As farmers, we are constantly striving to create the best growing conditions for our salmon.
“The purchase of Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK is a landmark step in our long-term strategy, giving us greater influence over several key biological factors including fish health, stocking regimes and sea lice management.
“We’re very much looking forward to pairing the skill and know-how of our existing farming and fish health teams with the local expertise within Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK, working as one to benefit fish welfare and boost survival.
“This, in turn, will ensure a more secure and stable supply of salmon for our discerning customers the world over, helping satisfy the insatiable demand for this highly nutritious, low carbon food.”
SSF said the purchase price was on a “cash and debt-free basis”, with the deal due to complete in the final quarter of 2021 – subject to “approval by the relevant competition authorities and customary closing conditions”.
Grieg Seafood chief executive Andreas Kvame said: “The discontinuation of our salmon farming operations in Shetland is part of our communicated strategy, and the disposal represents an important milestone in Grieg Seafood’s strategy to concentrate future farming activities in Norway and Canada, where we see the largest potential for profitable growth.
Scottish business ‘in good shape’
“Following a three-year-long period of restructuring and operational improvement, Shetland is now showing good performance, with sea lice levels at an all-time low, increasing survival and a high superior share. I am pleased to say that we hand over operations in good shape.
“I am confident the Shetland business will be in good hands and that salmon farming will continue to create value for the local communities in Shetland for years to come.”