Aker BioMarine exits aquaculture

The Norwegian krill harvester and processor has reached an agreement to sell its feed ingredients division.
Matts Johansen, CEO of Aker BioMarine.

"This transaction underscores the value potential of Aker BioMarine as a whole," said CEO Matts Johansen.

Photo: Aker BioMarine.

Aker BioMarine has announced it has reached an agreement with American Industrial Partners (AIP) and Aker Capital for the sale of its ownership position in the Feed Ingredients business. In practice, this means that the biotech innovator and world's leading krill supplier exits the aquaculture sector to focus on the human health and nutrition business.

In February, the Norwegian company announced a strategic review of its feed ingredients division. Now, it has materialized in a sale agreement that has valued this division of the company at USD 590 million (EUR 546.5 million). The buyer will be a newly established company owned 60% by AIP and 40% by Aker Capital - another of Norwegian Kjell Inge Rokke's Aker Group companies, to which Aker BioMarine also belongs.

"We are pleased to announce the sale of our ownership position in the Feed Ingredients business. This transaction is the result of a process that attracted interest from a wide range of reputable parties and not only demonstrates the value of Feed Ingredients but also underscores the value potential of Aker BioMarine as a whole," said Matts Johansen, CEO of Aker BioMarine.

Focused on human health and nutrition

The notification sent by Aker BioMarine to the Oslo Stock Exchange states that subject to obtaining the necessary competition approvals, the sale transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of 2024. After that, as said above, Aker BioMarine will be a company focused on human health and nutrition.

Until now, in addition to being the world's leading krill supplier, Aker BioMarine consisted of two business segments, Ingredients and Brands. The Ingredients segment comprised offshore harvesting and production, logistics operations, and onshore manufacturing and sales of krill products. The Brands segment was the human consumer goods business.

Following the now-announced transaction, the company will consist of three business units: Human Health Ingredients, Consumer Health Ingredients, and Emerging Businesses. Moreover, Aker BioMarine said that it has signed a long-term contract with the newly formed feed ingredients company to supply krill raw materials for its Human Health Ingredients business.

"We will continue to explore how we can drive shareholder value by enabling potential partnerships and transactions for each of the remaining business units," Matts Johansen commented.

Value to refinance debt and to shareholders

According to the Norwegian krill harvester and processor, in addition to allowing the company to focus on the human health and nutrition business, the transaction will create significant value for shareholders and is an important step towards crystallizing value.

Before making the sale decision, the company's board obtained a fairness opinion from a third party that concluded the deal was in the best interests of both Aker BioMarine ASA and its shareholders, and that the financial consideration was fair. The enterprise value of USD 590 million (EUR 546.5 million) - on a cash and debt-free basis - will be adjusted for normalized working capital and surplus product inventory at closing.

Following the transaction, in which Arctic, Carnegie, and Rabobank acted as financial advisors, and Schjødt as legal advisor, Aker BioMarine intends to refinance its debt to obtain a suitable debt structure for the remaining business but aims to distribute an extraordinary dividend after closing. Management expects the proposed dividend to be between NOK 35 (USD 3.31 / EUR 3.06) and NOK 45 (USD 4.26 / EUR 3.94) per share.

In February, Aker BioMarine reported it had closed 2023 with a new record growth. A year earlier, it had announced that by the end of fiscal 2022, it had finally reached black numbers. A few months later, in October, it consolidated krill intellectual property by acquiring all krill-related patents, data, and equipment from pharmaceutical company Acasti Pharma.

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