(Combines EU and Marine Harvest statements, adds detail)
BRUSSELS/OSLO, July 23 European Union regulators
have handed down a 20 million euro ($27 million) fine on
Norway's Marine Harvest ASA, the world's biggest fish
farmer, for acquiring smaller rival Morpol without first
securing antitrust approval.
Marine Harvest, which accounts for more than a fifth of the
global farmed fish trade and is controlled by shipping tycoon
John Fredriksen, took control of the smaller Polish company in a
cash and share deal worth 937 million crowns in 2012.
"Marine Harvest should have been aware of its obligations to
notify and await clearance from the Commission before proceeding
with the acquisition," the European Commission said in a
The company said it disagreed with the decision and would
likely contest it. "Marine Harvest will now carefully consider
the options available to it. It appears, however, more likely
than not that the decision to fine the company will be referred
to the EU courts," it said in a statement.
Shares in Marine Harvest were little affected by the
announcement, trading up 1.6 percent at 1039 GMT, among the best
performers on the Oslo bourse whose benchmark index was
up 0.5 percent.
The fish farmer said in March it did not expect the fine to
have a material impact.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee in Brussels and Gwladys Fouche in