SalMar is to close a large coastal slaughterhouse at Rørvik in central Norway with the loss of more than 100 jobs.
The company said the decision is largely based on economic grounds, with the centre requiring an investment of NOK 250 million (£20m) to bring it up to standard. Rumours about a possible closure have been circulating for several weeks.
“Such an investment is not advisable with the ground rent tax,” the company added, referring to the new tax on fish farmers due to be imposed by the Norwegian government.
The slaughterhouse is operated by SalmoSea. Described by the company as Norway’s most modern slaughterhouse for salmon, the facility, also known as NT166, has a long tradition of processing seafood and offers slaughtering services to SalmoSea’s co-owners, SalmoNor and Bjørøya fish farming, as well as other producers.
SalmoSea installed a brand new production line in 2019, which increased the daily capacity to 260 tonnes of salmon.
SalMar, through its ownership of SalmoNor, is the main shareholder of SalmoSea. SalMar said it regretted the decision to close the slaughterhouse but it had little choice. The facility employs a total of 110 personnel who have all been given three months’ severance pay.
“Over time, SalmoSea has not been able to cover its ongoing obligations. In the board’s opinion, the company’s butchery business will not be competitive in the future either.
“The company’s owners have worked intensively to avoid this situation which has developed over several years, including by issuing (NOK) 82.7 million in the ongoing supply of new capital.”
SalmoSea said the owners of the site would concentrate on finding alternative jobs for the people who work there.
The owners have invested heavily in the facility in recent years, but SalMar said the additional NOK 250m would have been needed to bring it up to date.
However, there is little doubt that a different decision might have been reached had it not been for the proposed ground rent tax due to be voted in by the Norwegian Parliament later this year.