Look out: There's another runaway salmon stock from a company who has produced exactly zero salmon.
While by now the broader seafood industry is familiar with the rollercoaster journey of Atlantic Sapphire, the slew of other land-based salmon producers, which include NordicAquafarms, Salmon Evolution, Pure Salmon, Danish Salmon and dozens of others, are still busily jockeying for capital, searching for site locations and struggling to find real-world expertise.
One of those, Norwegian producer Andfjord Salmon, appears to be breaking away from the crowd, at least in valuation.
In fact, Andfjord was the only stock-listed salmon farming company to see a rise in its share price last month, beating out the big kids, including Mowi, Leroy Seafood, Norway Royal Salmon, Bakkafrost -- even Atlantic Sapphire (whose shares have taken an equally eye-popping climb since it listed).
And it was no small difference. Andfjord's shares rocketed 19.2 percent through Aug. 6, defying a crashing salmon price -- that squeezed margins close to zero for even traditional, established producers -- not to mention a devastated global economy.
Other producers showed a more realistic reflection of the current state of play, with Mowi, the world's largest producer, dropping 4.4 percent during the month, and Norway Royal Salmon and Bakkafrost's shares taking a bigger dip, by 5.4 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively. Even Atlantic Sapphire, the golden child of investor optimism, saw shares tumble 8.6 percent during the month.
A different path
Though Andfjord falls into the land-based category, the group's production system is actually a "flow-through" system: basically a closed seawater plant, lowered to sea level on land. The system has 100 percent throughput with continuous renewal of fresh seawater, differing from most of its land-based counterparts whose high-tech -- some say higher risk -- systems are based on recycled, purified water.
The company has also defied a couple of other norms. It is run by a 34-year-old: Martin Rasmussen was poached from another CEO role at French-owned whitefish processor Primex Norway back in January. And, apparently unphased by the outbreak of COVID-19, the company listed on Oslo's Merkur Market in June, achieving a NOK 150 million ($16.6 million/€14 million) share placement in the midst of a pandemic.
Andfjord Salmon has a license to grow 10,000 metric tons of salmon in its land-based system, and aims to reach 70,000 metric tons in the near future. However, while it has secured sites, it has as yet to produce any fish, once again revealing an impressive faith from investors in a company yet to prove it can make any kind of return.