Marine Harvest, Aquachile deal can stem boom, bust salmon cycles – Undercurrentnews.

17 décembre 2014

January 20, 2015, 8:52 am

Tom Seaman

The proposed merger between the Chilean business of Norway’s Marine Harvest and Aquachile, the largest player in the South American country, can stem the boom and bust cycles traditionally seen in farmed salmon, sources said.

Share prices of both companies shoot up after deal was announced Monday, seen as transformational for salmon sector. Shares in Oslo listed Marine Harvest rose 5.76%, to NOK 110, with Aquachile, listed in Chile’s capital Santiago, surged 13.76% to CLP 425.010.

The deal, which, if approved, will see Marine Harvest own 42.8% of Aquachile, also would unite two of the sector’s most respected executives, Marine Harvest chairman Ole Eirik Leroy and Victor Hugo Puchi, chairman of Aquachile.

Widely commended by financial analysts covering the salmon sector for its industrial benefits, but this misses the point of the human factor, said Philippe Barbe, co-owner of French salmon supplier Direct Ocean and a sector veteran.

“I read the analyst’s comments on the merger. I think they forgot to mention the vital gain for the salmon world industry, the two best men in this industry, one in the northern hemisphere and one in the southern are joining forces,” he told Undercurrent News.

“Believe me, once they get things in place, there will never be any wild growth causing market turbulence anymore. The salmon industry will be, as we say in French, ‘un long fleuve tranquille’, a long calm river,” said Barbe.

This is just enormous and we must realize that this is not an evolution but a revolution. Both (Puchi and Leroy) have had and have a real vision for the industry on top on their respective huge success so far, he said.

Puchi created Aquachile and Leroy built up his family firm, Leroy Seafood Group, before leaving when the company was taken over by Austevoll Seafood.

“Then, he is now smartly building this huge Marine Harvest group,” said Barbe.

“Puchi has always fought for a reasonable industry with reasonable geographical concentration and growth in Chile. Leroy had foreseen in 2007 the ISA [infectious salmon anemia] crisis that arose a year later. I remember him that year, coming back from a trip to Chile, saying that Chile was going towards “big trouble”,” he told Undercurrent.

Under the terms of the deal, Marine Harvest Chile, including the recently acquired Acuinova, formerly owned by Pescanova, will be merged into Aquachile with a net interest bearing debt of $65 million. Upon completion of the merger, Marine Harvest will own 42.8% of Aquachile.