* Bid conditional on Cermaq's dropping Peruvian offer
* Would pay 50 pct with cash, rest with stock
* Norwegian govt holds 40 pct of Cermaq
By Balazs Koranyi
OSLO, April 30 Marine Harvest, the
world's biggest fish farmer, said it would buy rival Cermaq
in a deal worth $1.69 billion if it abandoned plans to
buy Peruvian fishmeal firm Copeinca.
Marine Harvest, controlled by shipping tycoon John
Fredriksen, said it would pay 105 crowns ($18.24) per Cermaq
share, 22 percent above its close on Tuesday, but only if Cermaq
dropped its offer, which values the Peruvian firm at about $732
Norway's fishing firms have enjoyed a boom this year as
soaring product prices and strong consumer demand have driven up
profits and stock prices. Marine Harvest's shares have more than
doubled over the past 12 months.
On Tuesday the company lifted its guidance for return on
capital employed and said it would list its shares in the United
Marine Harvest said that Cermaq's proposed fishmeal
acquisition would be the wrong kind of market exposure and that
instead it wanted to create an integrated protein company
emphasizing feed, farming and value-added processing.
Marine Harvest said it would pay half in cash and the rest
with stock. To emphasize its intent, it also launched a 350
million euro convertible bond offer on Tuesday.
Although the Norwegian government holds 40 percent of Cermaq
and a deal would require its blessing, it has said in the past
that a sale was not out of the question.
Cermaq said it would respond to the offer on Thursday, while
Norwegian government officials could not immediately be reached
Marine Harvest shares closed up 2.3 percent on Tuesday,
while Cermaq shares closed unchanged at 86 crowns.