Irish firm sells 50% stake in Austevoll fish oil JV

By Shane STARLING contact

- Last updated on GMT

The venture has generated over €8m in post-tax profits each year since 2009
The venture has generated over €8m in post-tax profits each year since 2009

Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acid, Fish oil

Irish company Origin Enterprises has sold its 50% stake in its fish and omega-3 oil JV, Welcon Invest AS, to its Norwegian JV partner, Austevoll Seafoods for €93m (740m NOK) as it focuses on agricultural activities.

Austevoll created Welcon in 2003 and has regained full control of the operation with about 250 staff.

The deal needs anti-trust approval from the Norwegian Competition Authority and is expected to clear in 2014.

Origin and Austevoll formed the Welcon JV at the beginning of 2009 after they merged their Irish, UK and Norwegian fishmeal and fish oil operations.

The venture has generated over €8m in post-tax profits each year since then but Origin has been stripping its non-core activities and so, according to a spokesperson contacted today, “decided to extract itself from the JV even though it was profitable and there was no bad blood between the JV partners”.

Origin CEO, Tom O’Mahony, said: “The Transaction represents an important streamlining of Origin’s business profile in line with our commitment to prioritise the allocation of capital for the expansion and development of the Group’s  Agri-Services business.”

“This is also a good outcome for Welcon. Austevoll’s position and proven track record as a leading integrated pelagic fishery specialist will bring further benefits to Welcon under their full ownership.”

Origin had turnover of about €1.3bn in 2012, mostly from agricultural services.

Welcon has focused on fishmeal, protein concentrate and oil in Northern Europe since 2003.

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