Undercurrent News

Land acquisition shows Atlantic Sapphire serious about 220,000t salmon goal

Jason Huffman

Jun 19, 2019
Atlantic Sapphire announced Wednesday that it is on the verge of doubling the amount of land it owns in Homestead, Florida, entering into an agreement to buy another 80 acres for $5 million.

The acquisition, which is expected to close in 30 days and is adjacent to the 80 acres of developed property already owned, is proof the Norwegian recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) Atlantic salmon farmer is serious about its new goal of growing 220,000 metric tons of fish annually by 2030.

In announcing the deal, it says the new property will also be used to help it "develop additional vertical integration opportunities".

Atlantic Sapphire said, in a press release, that it is "well underway" with construction of its phase 1 build, which is projected to harvest approximately 10,000t of salmon annually from the third quarter of 2020, and noted that it has secured the key US water permits to produce up to 90,000t onsite, annually.

That was the original target, to be reached by 2027, but on May 8, CEO and co-founder Johan Andreassen generated a lot of excitement when he revealed in a PowerPoint presentation at Seafood Expo Global, in Brussels, Belgium, his company's new goal to more than double that amount three years later, as reported by Undercurrent News. It would mean capturing 27% of the fresh salmon market in the US and becoming the world's second-largest salmon farmer, behind only Norwegian net-pen aquaculture company Mowi (586,000t/year in 2018).

Also, on May 8, Atlantic Sapphire made additional shares available in a private placement and raised another NOK 783m ($90m) in just 29 minutes.

In a recent email exchange with Undercurrent, Atlantic Sapphire finance director Karl Oystein Oyehaug explained why the company recently adjusted its growth goals upwards.

“We believe that scale is a key part of being successful in this space and Florida gives us ideal conditions to scale up to take advantage of economies of scale and reduce cost and capex,” he said. “Further, we saw that we, by changing our business plan, could move harvest volumes closer in time, which is a very attractive investment, while also taking down construction risk as we’re building in ‘smaller steps’.”

Taklo added from pleasure cruise industry

Additionally on Wednesday, Atlantic Sapphire said it has hired Svein Taklo, who previously managed engineering projects and maintenance operations for the cruise shipping industry, to serve as its new chief development and infrastructure officer. He starts Oct. 1 and will be based in Miami, Florida.

Taklo most recently held senior management roles in marine and technical operations for The World, Hurtigruten, and Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Atlantic Sapphire said in its press release that the hire "is another step in the company’s strategy to implement learnings from other large, technically advanced industries into Bluehouse salmon farming".

Contact the author jason.huffman@undercurrentnews.com


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