Billionaire Salmon believes that the group of shareholders that will kick him off the NTS board of directors is planning to sell the company’s shares in Norway, Royal Salmon. The other side accuses Gåsø and the rest of the current board of directors of not treating shareholders equally.
– I feel like the basics might want to slay NTS.
This is what Helge Gåsø, the largest owner of NTS salmon group, said in an interview with the industry’s website iLaks Friday.
The comments came after a dramatic general meeting at NTS on the same day, in which Gåsø and his son Anders, who own 37 percent of the company, surprisingly opposed an attempt by a group of shareholders to oust them from the board.
The Rorvik-based group of shareholders, which together controls nearly half of the company, also announced an offer of 105 NOK per share for NTS, equivalent to NOK 13.2 billion.
NTS owns 68 percent of the Norwegian Listed Salmon (NRS) breeder and has announced plans to merge this company with its wholly owned company Salmonor.
A written statement from the group of shareholders led the stock market to speculate that they were also open to selling NTS or NRS shares of the company, and thus the latter’s share price in particular has risen in recent weeks.
– What do you put in that they want to slaughter the company, and what is the basis of that speculation?
– That’s not something I know, but they didn’t come up with what their plan was. We’ve called for talks, but they don’t meet. They are very concerned about getting a board of directors in which they will have a majority, so it is reasonable to believe that they will sell NRS, says Gåsø to E24.
Responds to the reality of the emergence of brokerage houses
While both NTS and Salmonor are based in Rørvik in Ytre Namdalen, NRS has its head office in Trondheim and fish farms in Troms and Finnmark.
– This group of shareholders is working to acquire a local company, and if they sell the NRS, it will only be with Salmonor in Namdalen, says Gåsø, himself from the farming island of Frøya at the far end of Trondheimsfjorden.
– But why does the merger with the NRS negatively affect the salmonor? Will the head office be added to Trondheim?
No, the main office location has not been determined. Gåsø says the merger will create many new jobs in Namdalen.
He considers it “something special” that the group of shareholders attended the general meeting on Friday with two advisers to the brokerage firm Carnegie.
It’s not uncommon to attend public meetings with financial advisors, so I think they were planning a board meeting afterwards if they win, in order to proceed with the sale of NRS, says Gåsø.
– That’s what we feared, and maybe that’s also what the small shareholders who supported us also feared, he adds.
– Why are you against selling NRS?
– Because it will not create value. We’ve all worked here to set up a fish farming company that will produce 100,000 tons of salmon. Why stop before we finally get there and sell away?
– But the price of NRS rose sharply when the market saw an opportunity to sell? Then he fell again when you held your seat on the board. It seems that the market considers it better to sell the stock?
– Maybe in the short photo. Gåsø says he is asked about the length of the glasses she wears.
Contributors group: – Fear of imprisonment
In an interview with iLaks, Gåsø stated that the ownership struggle had created “terrible unrest” among around 1,200 employees, and that people wondered if they would have a job tomorrow if “the others” had won at the general meeting.
Who would have lost their job if the shareholder group had won?
– I may have missed a little in that interview, but it is clear that more people who work in the NTS head office are concerned. If you sell NRS, part of the activity you do in the construction process goes away, says Gåsø.
The center of the group of shareholders that provide NTS are the farming families Bondø, Williksen, Dolmen and Emilsen.
After making Gåsø’s proposal, the group wrote in a joint statement to E24:
“Maybe all shareholders will agree it is unfortunate with the disruption, and we all want to do what we think is best for shareholders, employees and partners while we secure business in the local communities in which the group operates.”
“For us, it is not about anything other than that we, who represent about half of the shares in the company, believe that there is a need for a new board of directors in the company,” the group continues.
“We have seen with concern that NTS has run a race where the current board does not appear to be looking after the interests of the shareholder community as a whole, and where many major shareholders fear being locked into an illiquid stock and with increasing uncertainty about equal treatment of shareholders.”
The group rejects that it is about “slaughtering” the company, but instead about securing shareholder value.
He concludes, “We believe that all involved are equally interested in creating jobs, ensuring local value creation and building communities.”
Tablecloth for a second match
The motion to oust Gåsøene and Chairman Odd Reidar Øie was voted on by a narrow majority of 50.13 per cent, after rebel Hans-Martin Storow changed his positions at the last minute.
Gåsø gives NTS Chairman Harry Bøe much of the credit for garnering support among Namdalen’s minor shareholders ahead of the general meeting.
On Saturday, it became known that the rebels are demanding the re-election of the board of directors at a new general meeting, as they claim that Friday’s decision was invalid.
The aforementioned Storø, who was elected as a new member of the board of directors on Friday, indicated that he changed his position in part because he considered it unacceptable that Gåsø and other big owners such as CEO Bøe and Chairman Øie should not be represented on the board.
– In my view, it was quite unnatural to propose a board of directors that is only 48 percent of the owners, as they did, and one independent board member. This obviously goes against the exchange’s recommendations on corporate governance, Jasso says.
– You will soon receive an offer of NOK 105 valuing your shares at NOK 4.9 billion. Are you thinking of selling?
I want to see the show before I take a stand on it, says Gåsø.
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