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Aker BioMarine scaling up for future growth

'We want to be a significantly bigger company in five years time,' CEO tells IntraFish. 

Aker BioMarine is opening an new chapter in its history with the acquisition of the krill oil business from Canadian pharmaceutical manufacturer Neptune Technologies & Bioressources.

From now on, the focus is on scaling up and "accelerating growth," Matts Johansen, CEO of Aker BioMarine, told IntraFish

"We want to be a significantly bigger company in five years time," he said. 

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The companies announced the $34 million (€29 million) deal on Wednesday, concluding an extended period of "informal" talks. 

Neptune is exiting the bulk krill oil manufacturing and distribution activities completely, and Aker BioMarine is taking over Neptune's customers, krill oil inventory and intellectual property.

"The krill business is a lot about fixed cost so it's all about getting scale," Johansen said. 

He declined to comment on any future M&A plans, telling IntraFish, "we don't have any other concrete plans" to acquire. 

However, now the company is able to increase its investments in R&D, marketing and new product development, he said. 

One side of its business Aker BioMarine is ramping up is its krill catching activities, which will significantly boost its supply of krill meal to the aquaculture feed industry.  

The company -- owned by Norwegian magnate Kjell Inge Rokke through his main shareholding in Aker -- currently operates two fishing vessels, the Antarctic Sea and the Sea Saga, which are fishing in the Antarctica.

In addition, it owns a transport vessel, La Manche, which delivers the catch to its logistic hub in Montevideo, Uruguay. 

In February, it announced the acquisition of a new NOK 1 billion (€112.6 million/$119.6 million) environmentally friendly krill vessel, which will be built in Norway and is due for delivery in 2019. 

In addition, it recently bought the krill vessel Juvel from competitor Rimfrost at auction, which  however resulted in a spat over patents, which according to Johansen won’t affect Aker BioMarine's business.

On the Omega-3 side, the market has been "tough" in the past couple of years but Johansen expects it to start growing again. 

Beside Krill as dietary supplement and krill as feed ingredient, Aker BioMarine runs a pet segment -- Qrill Pet -- which bodes well for a promising future, Johansen said.

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