Austevoll completes EPAX acquisition

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acid, Fish oil, Epax

Austevoll has completed its acquisition of EPAX from Ferd Private
Equity for an undisclosed sum, securing the omega-3 company's fish
oil supply and enabling full traceability.

The planned acquisition was announced in early January, and one of the main motivations was said to be for EPAX to have a vertically integrated supply from fishing to omega-3 oil supply and avoid potential sourcing problems for the future.

EPAX CEO Bjorn Refsum told NutraIngredients.com at that time that the company has not experienced any problems with crude oil sourcing to date; it always keeps a year's worth of supply at hand.

However since demand for crude fish oil is increasing from the fish-farming and omega-3 industries and, according to Refsum, 100 per cent of the ocean's capacity is presently being utilised, the company identified the potential for a scarcity in supply in the future.

"We assume there will be an imbalance in the future,"​ said Refsum. "We have been working on securing supply for the past year."

Yesterday Refsum elaborated on the benefits for the omega-3 supplier: "This acquisition will also give us the opportunity to assure full traceability throughout the supply chain down to each fishing vessel - which really no omega-3 company can do today.

"This is in response to official requirements and also to increasing consumer demand."

The company presently sources oil of its specified quality from meal plants in around the world, including South America and Africa, but has not communicated any immediate plans for changes in logistics.

Austevoll produces 50,000 tonnes of fish oil a year. In 2006 EPAX utilised around 5,000 tonnes of fish oil, for 1,500 tonnes of end product.

Epax announced the demerger from its former parent company Pronova Biocare last March. According to former owner Ferd Private Equity Fund, EPAX has a 30 per cent share in the global market for high-grade omega-3; its 2006 turnover was approximately NOK 230-240m (€28.05 - 29.27m) and is said to be experiencing growth of around 20 per cent per annum.

To help support this growth the company recently announced its plan to expand production at its Aalesund plant; this plan will not be affected by the acquisition.

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