Jobs safe after salmon takeover

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
26 April 2007, at 1:00am

UK - Shetland's largest salmon producer Hjaltland Seafarms has been sold by one Norwegian owner to another.

After weeks of speculation and rumours, the company announced yesterday (Tuesday) that its entire share capital had been sold to the Bergen-based Grieg Seafood Group.

In a statement, managing director Michael Stark assured his 140 employees that the acquisition of Hjaltland Seafarms plus its subsidiaries would not have any impact on their jobs.

"It will be business as usual at Hjaltland Seafarms, Lerwick Fish Traders and Shetland Products," he said.

The £40 million deal (480 million Norwegian Kroner) will make Grieg Seafood Group the sixth largest seafood producer in the world. The company hopes to be listed on the Oslo stock exchange later this summer

Managing director Per Grieg said his company already had a strong presence in Norway and in Canada. Shetland fitted in with their growth plans and gave them direct access to the attractive European Union market.

"We will take part in the consolidation of the industry that is happening just now. There are a lot of purchases and acquisitions going on in the industry at the moment, with the big companies getting bigger and the smaller ones getting fewer," Mr Grieg said.

"There was a choice for us to merge with one of the bigger ones or to take up the challenge to make acquisitions ourselves. We have decided to rise to that challenge."

Mr Grieg said he was impressed by the way Hjaltland Seafarms had developed over the years and that the completion of the £3.6 million extension to the Lerwick processing plant would remain a priority. He also hinted that more jobs would be created in the isles.

Source: Shetland Marine News