April 11, 2014 / 3:14 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 1-Norway Royal Salmon is big winner in fish farm licence round

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OSLO, April 11 (Reuters) - Norway Royal Salmon has been nominated for 10 of the 20 lucrative fish farming licences the Norwegian government plans to hand out in the latest round of awards, the company said on Friday, sending its shares up by more than 10 percent.

An unlisted company in which Norway Royal Salmon holds a 37.5 percent stake won a further two nominations, while Grieg Seafood said it had won four and Cermaq one. It was not yet clear who won the remaining three.

Salmar and Marine Harvest, the world's No.1 fish farmer by market value, both told Reuters they emerged empty-handed, and their shares fell on the news.

The 20 licences, all in Norway's two northernmost counties of Troms and Finnmark, cost 10 million Norwegian crowns ($1.69 million) each.

The Norwegian Fisheries Directorate, which is in charge of making the nominations, said it would make a statement later in the day. It plans to award a further 10 licences in another round later this year.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries has the final word on the awards but usually follows the recommendations of the directorate.

Norway Royal Salmon's shares were up 10.5 percent at 1410 GMT, while Grieg Seafood had gained 1.3 percent. Marine Harvest was down 2.7 percent and Salmar fell 1.8 percent.

"We had hoped to be nominated. Now we will have to look closer into the case before we consider whether to make a complaint," Salmar's chief financial officer, Trond Tuvstein, told Reuters.

Marine Harvest spokesman Ola Helge Hjetland said: "We did not get any licence awards in this round."

The government has traditionally handed out such fixed-price licences at prices usually well below the potential market value, but last month begun experimenting with an auction for some of the awards where 15 licences were sold for up to 66 million crowns each.

$1 = 5.9186 Norwegian Krones Reporting by Ole Petter Skonnord; Editing by Terje Solsvik and Pravin Char

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