Cermaq Trumps Pacific With $609 Million Offer for Copeinca

Cermaq ASA, a Norwegian fish food producer, offered to buy rival Copeinca ASA for 3.49 billion kroner ($609 million), trumping a previous bid by Pacific Andes Resources Development Ltd. for the fish-oil and meal producer.

Cermaq, in which the Norwegian government owns a 43.5 percent stake, now controls more than 50 percent of Copeinca’s shares and will make a voluntary offer of 59.7 kroner apiece for the rest, the company said in a statement today. Pacific’s China Fishery, based in Singapore, on Feb. 26 offered to buy Copeinca for 53.85 kroner a share.

Cermaq is seeking to buy Lima-based Copeinca, a producer of fishmeal and oil from anchovy caught off Peru, to expand into the South American nation, the world’s largest exporter of the salmon feed ingredients by volume. Cermaq’s EWOS unit already has operations in Canada, Norway, Scotland, Chile and Vietnam.

The acquisition “will strengthen Cermaq’s position as an integrated marine protein company with a significant global market position in marine raw materials which are essential for the salmon industry,” Chief Executive Officer Jon Hindar said.

Cermaq’s offer has been accepted by investors controlling 22.7 million shares and will be paid 40 percent in cash and 60 percent in shares. The company also bought 11.7 million Copeinca shares through a directed issue of new shares, as well 852,993 Treasury shares, giving it control of 50.7 percent of the Peruvian company.

Rights Offer

The combined company will benefit from annual synergies of 250 million kroner to 270 million kroner and the deal will add to earnings per share from this year, Cermaq said.

Cermaq plans to fund the acquisition through a 1.6 billion-krone rights issue and bank debt, it said. The Norwegian Trade and Industry Ministry, which owns 43.5 percent of Cermaq, and the Government Pension Fund Norway, which owns 5.4 percent, will participate in the rights offer, the company said.

Shares in Copeinca, which last year reported an operating profit of $75 million on sales of $314 million, rose as much as 4.6 percent and closed 3.3 percent higher at 62 kroner in Oslo. Cermaq fell 0.8 percent to 90 kroner.