NORWAY: Marine Harvest to buy stake in salmon firm Morpol

By Dean Best | 17 December 2012

Marine Harvest wants to be "integrated protein company"

Marine Harvest wants to be "integrated protein company"

Norwegian seafood group Marine Harvest is to make a bid to buy 100% of salmon processor Morpol.

Marine Harvest today (17 December) announced it had struck a deal to acquire 48.5% of Morpol for NOK937.6m (US$167m) and said it would launch a mandatory offer for the rest of the business.

Chairman Ole-Eirik Lerøy said the acquisition of the Morpol stake was part of the company's ambition to be a "world-leading integrated protein group".

Lerøy said: "Our already strong position within salmon farming will be further strengthened and our presence within value added processing activities will take a giant leap through this transaction."

Marine Harvest said Morpol was "a world leader in [the] value-adding processing of smoked and marinated salmon". Morpol has processing and distribution facilities in countries including the UK, France, Germany and Poland. It has sales offices in markets including Japan and the US.

Marine Harvest said its NOK11.50-a-share offer was a 38.6% premium on Morpol's share price when the stock exchange closed on Friday. It will table an offer for the rest of the business within four weeks.

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Marine Harvest acquires 48.5% of Morpol

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(Bergen, 17 December 2012)The Board of Directors of Marine Harvest has entered into an agreement with Friendmall Ltd. and Bazmonta Holding Ltd. to acquire 48.5% of the shares in Morpol ASA for NOK 11.50 per share. Marine Harvest intends to submit a mandatory offer for the remaining shares in Morpol.

Transaction
The purchase will be carried out on or about 18 December 2012 and the total purchase price will be NOK 937,614,607.5. From the purchase price, NOK 512,614,607.5 will be paid in cash and the remaining NOK 425,000,000 will be paid through an issuance of 83,600,527 Marine Harvest shares to Friendmall Ltd. and Bazmonta Holding Ltd. based on a subscription price of NOK 5.0837 per share. The subscription price equals the volume weighted average price of the Marine Harvest share 12-14 December 2012. From the cash consideration, NOK 425,000,000 will be financed through the issuance of 83,600,527 shares to Geveran Trading Co. Ltd. at the same subscription price. The shares will be issued under the Board's authorisation granted by the Annual General Meeting of 4 June 2012. Subsequent to the share issue, Marine Harvest will have a share capital of NOK 2,811,256,197.75 and a total of 3,748,341,597 shares each carrying a nominal amount of NOK 0.75. The purchase will most likely trigger the requirement for a filing to the EU competition authorities, in which case Marine Harvest will not be eligible to vote for its Morpol shares until the transaction has been cleared.

Subsequent to the completion of the purchase, Marine Harvest intends to submit a mandatory offer for the remaining Morpol shares based on an offer of NOK 11.50 per share. Such offer will represent a premium of 38.6% to the closing price 14 December 2012 and a premium of 44.6% to the volume weighted average price the last 30 days. Such offer will be submitted within the 4 weeks period required by the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

Morpol - The world leader within smoked salmon
Morpol is the world leader in value added processing of smoked and marinated salmon. The company is listed at Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker code MORPOL. Morpol is present in all main markets for salmon with sales offices in a number of countries, including Japan and USA. The company has processing /distribution facilities in Poland, France, UK and Germany.

- Morpol's activities and large range of high quality products fit very well with Marine Harvest's current processing business as well as our downstream strategy. Morpol has its main market in Germany, but sells into a total of 39 countries. Marine Harvest has very limited sales of smoked products in the German market today. A future integration with Morpol will hence offer complementary benefits to today's Marine Harvest, comments the CEO in Marine Harvest, Alf-Helge Aarskog.

- Morpol will give our innovation and product development a strong boost. A combined Morpol and Marine Harvest can develop even more innovative and delicious seafood products for the consumer market.

High quality 
Morpol has throughout the years proved to be the leading innovator of smoked and marinated salmon. The products are characterised by outstanding and consistent quality backed by reliable year-round deliveries from a closely managed, fully traceable and sustainable supply chain.

Friendmall Ltd. and Bazmonta Ltd. are controlled by Morpol's CEO and founder Mr. Jerzy Malek. Further to the purchase of Morpol shares, Marine Harvest has committed to future board resolutions in Morpol for the purpose of divesting Morpol's farming activities of non-salmon species (Cobia etc.) to companies controlled by Jerzy Malek for a consideration of USD 10.0 million. Furthermore, Marine Harvest has entered into similar agreements to purchase the technical services entity Euro-Industry for a consideration of EUR 10 million, 78.3% of the shares in the Polish sales company Epigon based on a 100% valuation of EUR 4.2 million and 100% of the shares in the processing company MK Delikatesy for a consideration of EUR 2.5 million. Marine Harvest is convinced that these transactions will streamline Morpol's assets further, and hence be positive for its long term value creation.

- Mr. Jerzy Malek has been a pioneer within the value added processing segment in Europe. Since the founding of Morpol in 1996 Mr. Malek has done an impressive job with developing the smoked salmon segment. Jerzy Malek has developed a professional, strong and efficient organisation in addition to developing a listed company from scratch says Aarskog. -Furthermore, we appreciate Jerzy Maleks strong wish take part in the future development of Marine Harvest through a significant shareholding.

Salmon farming
Since the listing at Oslo Stock Exchange in 2010 Morpol has acquired high quality assets within farming of salmon in Norway and Scotland. The company aims to harvest a total of 30,000 tons in 2013.

In Norway, Morpol owns a fully integrated company in Troms County. This is a new geographic area for Marine Harvest and will be an important area for Marine Harvest to pursue future growth.

Financials
Morpol had revenues of EUR 495.1 million in 2011 and a net interest bearing debt of EUR 146.6 million at the end of the third quarter 2012. A share price of NOK 11.50 is equivalent to a market capitalization of NOK 1,932 million.

In a comment, Marine Harvest Chairman Ole-Eirik Lerøy says:

-The purchase of the Morpol stake is in line with Marine Harvest's strategy of forming a world leading integrated protein group. Our already strong position within salmon farming will be further strengthened and our presence within value added processing activities will take a giant leap through this transaction. Together with our recent announcement regarding our organic investment in feed production, the transaction will give Marine Harvest a great starting point to become a unique integrated protein provider. The Board believes that such strategy will provide significant operational benefits, as well as boosting and stabilising the long term earnings power of the group.

Contacts Marine Harvest:
Mr. Alf-Helge Aarskog, CEO: +47 905 97 529 (cell)
Mr. Ivan Vindheim, CFO: +47 958 71 310 (cell)
Mr. Ole-Eirik Lerøy, Chairman of the board: +47 995 35 566 (cell)

About Marine Harvest:
Marine Harvest is one of the world's leading seafood companies and the largest producer of farmed salmon, with presence in 22 countries and a total of 6 200 employees worldwide. The company is headquartered in Bergen, Norway, and is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker code MHG. Please seewww.marineharvest.com for further information.

This information is subject of the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

 

Original source: Marine Harvest

Sectors: Mergers & acquisitions, Seafood

Companies: Marine Harvest

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