Author Archives: May Hansen

Business update on impact of the COVID-19 outbreak

Bergen, 17 March 2020: Given the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, Grieg Seafood Group ASA (the “Company” or “GSF” with OSE ticker: “GSF”) would like to provide an update on the impact on its business and organization. Grieg Seafood’s operations are currently, in light of the circumstances, running as normal.

Organization and employees

Grieg Seafood’s priority is the wellbeing of its employees, their families and the local communities where we operate, and the Company complies fully with the authorities’ recommendations in all locations.

The Company has implemented measures to limit contamination, with crises management teams operating in the head office and in each region. The regions have conducted local risk assessments and implemented measures accordingly, such as limiting contact between shifts, hygiene measures and home office where possible. Companies in our supply chain have also implemented measures to avoid contamination and keep operations running safely.

Operational status

Grieg Seafood’s operations are currently running as normal, considering the circumstances. So far, the salmon is harvested according to plan, and we will work relentlessly to keep our harvesting schedule also in the coming time.

The demand for salmon is there in the markets, with significant decreased demand from hotel, restaurants and catering (horeca) and increased demand from retail. Per now, the flow of goods between countries on trucks remains relatively good. There are currently no border restrictions on food items, including salmon. Airfreight is a challenge and the industry is working hard to find alternative transportation solutions. With farming operations located in close proximity to both the European and the US market, Grieg Seafood’s dependence on cross-Atlantic distribution is limited.

As a food commodity, the continuous production and supply of salmon is encouraged. In Norway, the salmon farming industry is recognized as a “critical public function”, where upholding production is a governmental priority. The Company is maintaining a good dialogue with the authorities in Norway, the UK and Canada through industry organizations, discussing possible arrangements to safeguard salmon farming operations in various scenarios, such as flexibility on maximum allowed biomass (MAB) and fallow periods. On a broader scale, initiatives implemented by authorities to avoid contamination in the general population reduce the risk of supply chain disturbances.

Financial position

Grieg Seafood has a solid financial position. At 31 December 2019, the Group had available cash and credit facilities of NOK 955 million. Net interest-bearing liabilities, excl. factoring and IFRS 16, were NOK 1.9 billion. NIBD/EBITDA was 1.4 and the Company had an equity ratio of 46%.

Guiding

For 2020, Grieg Seafood has guided on a total harvest of 100 000 tonnes GWT with costs at or below industry average. The full medium- and long-term implications of the coronavirus pandemic remain uncertain. However, based on the current situation, the Company will harvest according to the Q1 guiding of 16 800 tonnes, and the Company’s volume target for 2020 remains in place.

Capital Markets Day postponed

It is with regret that, in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, we have to postpone our Capital Markets Day, which was planned for June 10. 2020. We will follow the COVID-19 developments and announce a new date at a later time.

For more information, contact:

Investors:
Andreas Kvame, CEO, Grieg Seafood ASA
+47 90 77 14 41
andreas.kvame@griegseafood.com

Atle Harald Sandtorv, CFO, Grieg Seafood ASA
+47 90 84 52 52
atle.harald.sandtorv@griegseafood.com

Media requests:
Kristina Furnes, Global Communications Manager, Grieg Seafood ASA
+47 48 18 55 05
kristina.furnes@griegseafood.com

Grieg Seafood ASA takes the next step on its growth journey by acquiring Grieg Newfoundland AS

Bergen and Marystown, February 7, 2020

  • Grieg Seafood ASA (OSE: GSF) has signed Share Purchase Agreements (SPA) for the acquisition of Grieg Newfoundland AS in Newfoundland, Canada.
  • The Newfoundland project includes exclusivity for salmon farming in Placentia Bay, which has a farmable area bigger than the Faroe Islands.  
  • The project currently comprises licenses for 11 sea sites. 3 licenses are approved, 3 are expected to be approved in 2020 and the rest are in different stages of application. The project also includes a high-end Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) facility under construction.
  • The project has a long-term annual harvest potential of 30 000 – 45 000 tonnes Atlantic salmon.

Grieg Seafood has an ambitious strategy for long-term sustainable growth and development. By 2025, the company aims to harvest at least 150 000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon, to achieve cost leadership and to re-position itself in the value chain from a pure commodity supplier to a customer innovation partner.

Growth will be achieved through post-smolt investments, M&A activity and organic growth. Value chain repositioning will be achieved through increased presence in the market with partnerships, category development and brand cultivation. The acquisition of Grieg Newfoundland AS strongly underpins the 2025 strategy. The first harvest will be in 2022/23, and the region is expected to contribute 15 000 tonnes annual harvest by 2025.

Commenting on the acquisition, Grieg Seafood CEO, Andreas Kvame, says:

“For the past few years, we have focused on utilizing our existing licenses with success. This year, we will reach our target of 100 000 tonnes. Now we are ready for the next step on our growth journey. By developing salmon farming operations in Newfoundland, using cutting-edge technologies at all stages of the production process, we are strengthening our position as a global leader in sustainable salmon farming.

The US market is the world’s largest and fastest growing market for Atlantic salmon, but only a third of US demand is currently met by North American production. We already have a position in this market through our operations in British Columbia, where we have attained significant sales and marketing experience. With close proximity to important markets on the East Coast of the US, this acquisition significantly strengthens our US market exposure and opens up for synergies with existing operations.”

A brief history of the Newfoundland project

  • The Newfoundland project was initiated by Grieg Kapital AS and Per Grieg Jr. in collaboration with their local partner Ocean Choice International Ltd. in 2014. Grieg Kapital AS is owned by the majority owner of Grieg Seafood ASA, the Grieg Group. Per Grieg Jr. is Chairman of the Board of Grieg Seafood ASA.
  • In 2015, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to produce Atlantic salmon on seawater grow-out sites across four areas of Placentia Bay was signed with the Province of Newfoundland. 11 licenses for sites are currently approved or in different stages of application.
  • The Newfoundland project received Environmental Impact Study (EIS) approval in August 2018 for Placentia Bay.
  • The Newfoundland project also comprises a high-end Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) facility. Construction of the onshore smolt-facility commenced in April 2019.

Specific conditions of the Newfoundland project

  • The Newfoundland project includes long-term exclusive farming rights to the Placentia Bay area.
  • The marine sites are in an area with favourable biological conditions for salmon farming.
  • Temperature profile is similar to the Grieg Seafood’s Norwegian operations. Fluctuating temperatures in the water can occur in Newfoundland, with low temperatures in the winters and a recent incident of high summer temperatures in another part of the island.
  • The area is highly isolated from other salmon farmers in the region. Long distances and low interconnectivity between sites lower risk of biological contamination between sites. 
  • Licenses require sterile salmon.

Equipment plan for the Newfoundland project

  • The sites are exposed to high seas and all sites will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology and systems for harsh environments.
  • 40-meter-deep pens and underwater feeding will reduce risk related to super-chilled or potential warm water.
  • Grieg Seafood’s post-smolt strategy will be implemented in the region, increasing robustness of the fish at all stages in the sea and reducing time in the sea to potentially comprise only one winter.
  • The fresh water RAS facility is planned to include a hatchery, a smolt facility and three post-smolt modules with potential annual capacity of 7 000 tonnes upon completion.

A stepwise approach to ensure risk management

The Newfoundland region will be developed gradually. Grieg Seafood will follow a stepwise approach to increased production and planned investments will be subject to frequent review and evaluation to ensure the viability and sustainability of growth and production. Grieg Seafood expects cost potential similar to its Norwegian operations and will leverage long experience producing in cold water. It also expects investment per kg to be similar to new sites in its Norwegian operations.

Production plan for the Newfoundland project

  • The first phase has an annual harvest volume target of 15 000 tonnes to be reached by 2025. First harvest in 2022/2023.
  • The second phase has an annual harvest volume target of up to 33 000 tonnes.
  • The long-term harvest potential in Placentia Bay of 45 000 tonnes will depend upon prudent risk management, approvals according to EIS plan and sustainable and profitable production.
  • On harvesting and processing, Grieg Seafood will collaborate with their local partner Ocean Choice International Ltd.

“Grieg Seafood has close to 30 years of experience with fresh water, post-smolt and sea water production of Atlantic salmon. Going forward, we will increase our focus on sustainability, fish welfare, reduction of carbon emissions and responsible farming practices. We will bring our best expertise, technology and knowledge into the development of the Newfoundland region, to ensure that we create value for all of our stakeholders alike: investors, customers, employees and not least for the local communities in Newfoundland,” says CEO Andreas Kvame.

Also commenting on the transaction, Stig Grimsgaard Andersen, Chairman of the Board of Grieg Kapital AS, says:

“Over the last few years, we have been able to make significant progress in the planning and development of this project and in 2019 we started construction of an advanced RAS facility at Marystown Marine Industrial Park, close to Placentia Bay. At this stage, we are fast approaching the initial smolt and seawater production phase. We are therefore glad to hand the reigns over to an organization with exceptional operational experience, financial capacity and scale to take full advantage of this opportunity. Our confidence in the viability and potential of this project is even further strengthened with Grieg Seafood at the helm and we are very happy to retain exposure to- and participation in this project through our continued ownership in Grieg Seafood ASA.”

Transaction details

  • Grieg Newfoundland AS is owned by Grieg Kapital AS (39%), Kvasshøgdi AS (39%), Ocean Choice International Ltd. (OCI) (19.5%) and Knut Skeidsvoll (2.5%).
  • Agreement to acquire 99% of the shares of Grieg Newfoundland AS and Grieg Seafood ASA has an option agreement to acquire the remaining 1% of the shares, which is retained by OCI.
  • Settlement for phase one of the production plan includes an up-front payment of NOK 620.5 million. NOK 264 million of this amount is for the work that Grieg NL has done in the project so far, including licenses with harvest capacity of 15 000 tonnes (NOK 17.6 per kilo). The remaining amount is related to investments already made in the project by Grieg Newfoundland AS.
  • When phase two is initiated, a further potential settlement of up to NOK 930 million is triggered by harvest volume milestones to be reached during the first 10 years of operation following the transaction.
  • The first milestone payment will be made when the company reaches planned annual harvest volume of more than 15 000 tonnes and the last at annual harvest volume of 33 000 tonnes.
  • Milestone payments will amount to NOK 43 per kg from 15 000-20 000 tonnes and NOK 55 per kg from 20 000-33 000 tonnes.
  • NOK 250 million of the up-front payment will be settled through issuance of new Grieg Seafood shares to the sellers of Grieg Newfoundland. The subscription price for the consideration shares will equal the volume weighted average closing price of the shares in Grieg Seafood over the three days prior to signing. The rest of the transaction will be financed through increased debt facilities.
  • The transaction is conditioned upon approval from Extraordinary General Meeting.

SpareBank 1 Markets AS has acted as financial advisor to Grieg Seafood ASA in connection with the transaction, and Advokatfirmaet Schjødt AS has acted as legal advisor to Grieg Seafood ASA in connection with the transaction. Wikborg Rein Advokatfirma AS has acted as legal advisor to the sellers of Grieg Newfoundland.

Fairness opinion

Deloitte AS has conducted a third-party verification of the valuation of Grieg Newfoundland AS.

Conference call: February 7, 2020, at 08:00 CET  

A conference call and audiocast followed by Q&A will be hosted by CEO Andreas Kvame and CFO Atle Harald Sandtorv at 08:00 CET. The call will be conducted in English.

The presentation is attached to this notice and will be available on https://www.griegseafood.no/inverstors/375-2/.

The audiocast with supporting slides will be available on https://grieg.eventcdn.net/202002/

Dial in details for the conference call and Q&A:

CA: +18447479615
DK: +4578150107
FI: +358981710520
DE: +496913803452
IE: +35312232016
SE: +46850558355
UK: +443333009261
US: +18335268398
NO: 80062196 (PIN for NO only: 95500265)

Please note that it will only be possible to ask questions over the conference call.

For more information, contact:

Investors
Andreas Kvame, CEO, Grieg Seafood ASA
+ 47 90 77 14 41
andreas.kvame@griegseafood.com

Atle Harald Sandtorv, CFO, Grieg Seafood ASA
+ 47 90 84 52 52
atle.harald.sandtorv@griegseafood.com           

Media
Kristina Furnes, Global Communications Manager, Grieg Seafood ASA
+47 48 18 55 05
kristina.furnes@griegseafood.com       

Link to Presentation

Harmful algal bloom caused mortalities at two sites in BC

Grieg Seafood has experienced acute mortality at two of its BC locations in the Jervis Inlet following harmful algal blooms (HAB) in the area. Total mortality is estimated to 250,000 fish or approximately 1,000 tons. This represents some 50 percent of the total biomass from the two locations.

Grieg Seafood continuously works to improve biosecurity and all of Grieg Seafood’s sites perform algal monitoring by taking daily samples which are analyzed using advanced image analysis techniques. This allows for the identification of the species, prevalence and depth distribution of any algae present.

The HAB in Jervis consisted of Heterosigma, a species of microscopic algae that cause acute mortality in fish. Due to extraordinarily high concentration and spread throughout the entire water column, use of Aeration treatments or other protective measures could not prevent the incident.

Grieg Seafood has insurances covering such incidents, and estimated costs including individual share of insurance are limited to NOK 25 million. The costs will be charged the Q2 2018 results.

The fish affected was scheduled to be harvested in the second half of 2018.

Contact information
Andreas Kvame, CEO, tel: +47 907 71 441
Atle Harald Sandtorv, CFO, tel +47 908 45 252

 

Grieg Seafood ASA: Best Q3 ever

Highlights – Third quarter 2017

  • Improved results driven by higher volume
  • Margins maintained by good prices supported by and cost reductions
  • EBIT margin negatively affected by planned harvesting stoppage in Rogaland
  • Stable production in Norway and BC, Shetland remains challenging
  • New location allocated in Finnmark (two in 2017)
  • Special dividend of NOK 1.00 per share
  • Planned volume growth of 17 % to 77 000 tons in 2018

Third quarter 2017 results
The harvest volume for the Grieg Seafood Group in Q3 2017 was 16 875 tons, up from 13 911 tons in the corresponding period last year, reflecting an increase of 21 %.

Combined with higher realised prices aggregate operating income amounted to NOK 1 855 million in the quarter, 19 % up on the corresponding period in 2016.

EBIT per kilo stood at NOK 13.60 in Q3, slightly up from NOK 13.30 per kilo in the same period last year. The average spot price in the quarter was down NOK 3.92 per kilo on the same period last year, while Grieg Seafood’s realised price increased by NOK 2.79 per kilo. The contract share for the Norwegian operation was 30 % during the period. Compared with last year’s third quarter, costs in Q3 increased by NOK 2.50 per kilo. This year’s increase was driven by a low harvest volume in Rogaland and a weak biological situation in Shetland.

“Grieg Seafood has an overall goal to increase production by minimum 10 % annually until 2020. The company also has an ambition for production-costs to be at or below industry average. We are working relentlessly to reach these targets, continuously initiating efforts throughout the entire organisation to improve operations. The positive development seen in the quarter indicates that our work is paying off”, says CEO Andreas Kvame in Grieg Seafood.

Access to smolt is vital to ensure growth and lower costs. In addition, release of larger smolt shortens time in sea, contributing to reduced biological risk. During 2017, Grieg Seafood entered collaborations with other industry players to improve smolt capacity. For 2017, Grieg Seafood plans to release 26 million smolt, an increase of 28 % from 2016. By the end of the third quarter the release program was according to plan, with an accumulated release of 18 million smolt year to date. Another key element to the growth strategy is greater yield per licence. In order to achieve the desired improvements, locational flexibility is crucial, and this is an ongoing focus of attention in the Company’s contact with local authorities which we seek to optimise.

The Group aims to provide a competitive return on capital investment to the shareholders in the form of payment of a dividend and share price appreciation. The company’s financial position is regarded as solid and available liquidity at the end of the quarter was strong. Based on this, the board of directors has approved a special dividend of NOK 1.00 per share.

Market developments
Salmon prices were slightly down in Q3 2017. This is normal for this period since production, especially in Norway, increases towards the end of the third quarter and brings pressure to bear on the market prices. Demand normally picks up as the Christmas period approaches, with price increases as an expected consequence.  In North-America the market for Atlantic salmon was stable throughout the third quarter.

Outlook
The demand for salmon is expected to increase as the Christmas season approaches, which normally leads to higher prices in the fourth quarter. In the longer term, the relationship between supply and demand is likely to be stable, giving grounds to expect a continuation of good prices for salmon in the marketplace.

Grieg Seafood’s contract share for the fourth quarter is estimated to 18 %. The renegotiation of contracts is an ongoing activity for the company, and so far, contracts have been signed for 22 % of the Norwegian harvest volume for 2018. The harvest volume for Q4 2017 is expected to be 22 100 tons, giving an overall harvest volume for 2017 of around 66 000 tons. In 2018, an increase in the amount of smolt set out is expected to increase the harvest volume to around 77 000 tons.

Quarterly report material
Please find the company’s Q3 2017 report and presentation attached here:

GSF Q3 2017 Rapport ENG

GSF Q3 2017 Presentation ENG

Contact information
Andreas Kvame, CEO, tel: +47 907 71 441
Atle Harald Sandtorv, CFO, tel +47 908 45 252

About Grieg Seafood
Grieg Seafood ASA is one of the world’s leading fish farming companies, specializing in Atlantic salmon. The business development of Grieg Seafood ASA focuses on profitable growth and sustainable use of resources. The company has and annual production capacity of more than 100,000 tons gutted weight. The Group is present in Norway, British Columbia (Canada) and in Shetland (UK), employing approximately 700 people.