Cermaq ASA (CEQ), a Norwegian fish-food maker, urged shareholders to reject a 9.7 billion-krone ($1.7 billion) takeover offer from Marine Harvest ASA (MHG) as it holds talks with potential bidders on selling assets.
Marine Harvest’s offer, valued on June 7 at about 105 kroner a share, doesn’t reflect Cermaq’s underlying value, the Oslo-based company said in a statement. Possible asset sales include Cermaq’s EWOS fish-feed and nutrition unit, it said.
“The board’s clear objective is to present the result of these discussions prior to the date shareholders must decide upon the current offer,” Cermaq said. “Through a controlling minority position, Marine Harvest may negatively influence Cermaq’s future strategic flexibility and block value-creating strategic solutions.”
Marine Harvest, the world’s largest salmon farmer, offered 8.6 shares and 53.25 kroner in cash for each Cermaq share on May 31. Oslo-based Marine Harvest, which had previously proposed 105 kroner a share including a 1-krone dividend on April 30, would use the acquisition to expand its fish-feed business while adding Cermaq’s salmon farms in Chile, Canada and Norway.
Cermaq shares traded unchanged at 108.5 kroner as of 2:10 p.m. in Oslo. Marine Harvest fell 0.5 percent to 5.95 kroner.
Cermaq shareholders have until 9 a.m. local time on June 21 to decide on the offer. Marine Harvest on June 5 cut the required level of acceptances to 33.4 percent from 50 percent.
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