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Norway Pelagic Studies Acquisition of Austevoll Units

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Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Norway Pelagic ASA, a Norwegian seafood producer, will consider buying the North Atlantic businesses of Austevoll Seafood ASA.

The two companies agreed to study a deal that would transfer Austevoll Fisk AS and Austevoll’s stake in Shetland Catch Ltd. to Norway Pelagic in exchange for shares, Maaloey-based Norway Pelagic said today in a statement. Norway Pelagic would issue 2.8 million new shares, increasing Austevoll’s holding to 43 percent from 33 percent, it said.

“Norway Pelagic will through this integration further strengthen its position as the leading player in the Norwegian industry for pelagic fish,” which describes fish living in open oceans, it said. “This is a major step in the ongoing consolidation and restructuring of the pelagic industry.”

Higher prices and consumer demand are prompting fish farmers and processors to merge as they seek to expand capacity. Last month Grieg Seafood ASA agreed to acquire Erfjord Stamfisk AS, while Leroey Seafood Group ASA agreed to buy Jokisen Evaeaet Oy. Norway is the world’s largest salmon supplier.

Austevoll rose 0.9 percent to 46 kroner at the 5:30 p.m. close in Oslo. Norway Pelagic fell 1.6 percent to 43 kroner.

Norway Pelagic expects due diligence to start this month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Jordan in London at ajordan11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amanda Jordan at ajordan11@bloomberg.net

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