“We’re in this for the long run,” says Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim

WeAreAquaculture spoke to Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim, who calls the Q1 results "very satisfactory" but says "it’s always about the future".
Ivan Vindheim speaking at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in March 2023. Photo: NASF/M.Wanvik.
Ivan Vindheim speaking at the North Atlantic Seafood Forum in March 2023. Photo: NASF/M.Wanvik.

Mowi has broken its own record this week, posting extraordinary results for the first quarter of 2023. The Norwegian salmon farmer achieved an operating profit of 322 million euros, and posted the highest revenues in its history, reaching over 1.3 billion euros.  

WeAreAquaculture spoke with Mowi CEO Ivan Vindheim to ask about his thoughts on the company's success and prospects for the rest of 2023. 

Mowi has achieved record-breaking results for 2023's first quarter. How does it feel? 

"You know, honestly it feels like just another quarter, frankly speaking. The first quarter is the first quarter, but we are in this for the long run. So we just try to work hard everyday to deliver results over time and sometimes they're better, sometimes they're not."  

"We've had a very good performance in the first quarter, which is very satisfactory, but of course our results are also driven by a very good market with the highest salmon prices." 

"And now we are fully focused on this second quarter. That's the name of the game – it's always about the future." 

How do you see the future for Mowi this year? 

"From an operations point of view, we're optimistic here, but with regard to our framework condition, to what's happening in the political world, it's a mixed bag, unfortunately." 

"In challenging economic times, I don't think there is any reason to get carried away. You just have to work hard every day in a challenging environment." 

What do you consider to be the main challenges for Mowi this year? 

"The framework conditions, the politics. That's our biggest challenge at the moment. That's the brutal truth." 

"Norway's tax on salmon farmers is completely unprecedented and totally out of proportion and not sustainable. This is our biggest concern at the moment, I must admit. It's not easy to develop a business and an industry with the conditions which are proposed." 

Do you think that there's any likelihood that the salmon tax proposal will be modified? 

"Not with this government. I'm not very hopeful. Most likely we won't see much change until 2025, when we will have a new election in Norway and we can get some changes in the Parliament, in the government, because we have a very unpopular government. In many eyes they are anti-business." 

Is Mowi already looking to other markets or other territories in reaction to the salmon tax, or do you prefer to wait and see what happens in 2025? 

"Mowi is already an international company – 40% of our business is already overseas. So we already have an international focus, and we will continue to develop all the parts of our value chain."  

"We've put all the structural, large investments in Norway on hold until we know the outcome of the 2025 election. We cannot justify going ahead with investments that are too risky. If we have to pay extra taxes going forward, that will have negative consequences, first and foremost on our investments in Norway. In the other countries capex proceeds as usual." 

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