Canadian frozen foods manufacturer High Liner Foods has injected $5m into the Norwegian North Atlantic cod farming company, Norcod AS.

High Liner Foods will acquire a 10% stake in the group following the deal.

The investment will form a part of Norcod’s “larger capital raise” which is due to close this month.

Paul Jewer, the CEO of High Liner Foods, will also receive nomination rights to sit on Norcod’s board of directors.

Jewer stepped into a full-time executive position at the Nova Scotia-headquartered group last December. He had served as interim CEO for three months and had been the company’s CFO since February 2014.

In a statement, Jewer described the investment as “a small but important step forward in our strategy to position High Liner Foods for the next chapter of leadership and growth”.

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He added the move would allow the business “and its stakeholders” to profit from a “highly sought after species like cod”, and would offer “a great complement” to its existing cod portfolio. “In making this long-term investment, we welcome the opportunity to support, and help shape, the bold, innovative work underway to lead the future of sustainable cod farming as a source of premium seafood for North America and markets around the world.”

Based in Trondheim, Norway, and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange, Norcod farms North Atlantic cod “raised in a natural environment”.

It claims to be “the world’s first dedicated cod-farming operation” to have received Global GAP Aquaculture standard certification.

The group manages seven farming sites located in Norway, one which is managed together with a partner, Just Food was told. These include Labukta and Bjørnvika in the north, plus Skogsøya island, Pålskjera, Jamnungen and the Trondheim headquarters in the south.

Norcod distributes its fish across the EU via a partnership with distributor Sirena Group. It also sells to the UK, North America and Asia.

It holds licences to hit 26,000mt production capacity. When asked to confirm how much fish the group currently farms at its facilities on an annual basis, Christian Riber, CEO at Norcod told Just Food: “We have a biomass of 8.000mt and will harvest about 10.000mt in 2024.”

High Liner Foods produces frozen breaded and seafood products for retail across Canada and the US. Its labels include Fisher Boy, Sea Cuisine, Mirabel and Catch of the Day, as well as the namesake brand.

In its latest financial results for the 52 weeks ended 30 December 2023, the company saw sales volumes grow 2.4% to 257 million pounds. Total sales were up close to 1% year-on-year at $1bn.

Net income was down 42% compared to 2022, at $31.6bn, while adjusted net income saw a 25% dip at $38.6bn.

It also dropped by the same percentage in the thirteen weeks ended December 30, 2023, to $6.4m. High Liner attributed the dip to lower adjusted EBITDA, a boost in amortisation and depreciation costs and income taxes in Q4, compared to the same point in 2022.