Vibecke Bondo has been appointed managing director of the newly merged fish farming company consisting of Midt-Norsk Havbruk (MNH) and SalmoNor.

Earlier in June, Norwegian aquaculture giant NTS, the largest shareholder in Norway Royal Salmon, won a bidding war for salmon farmer SalmoNor and said it will be merging its operations with those of its wholly-owned subsidiary Midt-Norsk Havbruk.

The merged company formed by the NOK 3 billion (€294 million/$360 million) deal will be called SalmoNor, when completed.

Frank Oren will continue to lead MNH until the time of the merger, after which he will step down.

The merger is dependent on the Norwegian Competition Authority's approval, but is expected to be completed by the end of September.

"I am proud and humbled to have been given the confidence to lead the merged company and look forward to taking on the task," said Vibecke Bondo, who is currently the general manager of SalmoNor.

The total harvest volume for both companies is expected to be around 37,000 metric tons in 2021 with the potential to later reach 40,000 metric tons.

"The board had two very good candidates to choose from," said Helge Gaso, chairman of the board of MNH and the largest shareholder in NTS.

"Vibecke Bondo has for a long time delivered very good biological and financial results, and will be important in the work of developing a competent organization and optimal operation in the merged SalmoNor."

Frank Oren was hired as general manager when NTS bought MNH in 2017.

"At the same time, MNH and NTS would like to thank Frank Oren for the work he has done for the company," added Gaso. "We are very grateful and sorry that Frank now did not want to join, but our roads will cross again."

NTS bought SalmoNor on June 2, with plans to merge the operations with Midt-Norsk Havbruk.

Three heavyweights in the Norwegian salmon industry were reportedly battling it for control of the mid-size producer, with NTS up against John Fredriksen, primary shareholder in Mowi, and Gustav Witzoe, primary shareholder in SalMar.

SalmoNor, owned by Norway's Bondo family and based in the western region of Trondelag, had a turnover of NOK 636 million (€62.3 million/$76.3 million) in 2019 and an operating profit of NOK 182 million (€17.8 million/$21.8 million).

It is a fully integrated salmon farmer with 10 licenses for salmon farming, harvesting around 13,000 metric tons (gutted weight) in 2020, with expectations to increase that to 14,500 metric tons next year.

SalmoNor is partly self-sufficient in smolt through subsidiary SalmoNor Settefisk and processes its fish at SalmoSea, which is already owned together with Midt-Norsk Havbruk.

SalmoNor is valued at NOK 3 billion (€294 million/$360 million) after payment of NOK 380 million (€37.2 million/$45.6 million) in dividends to the shareholders in SalmoNor and with NOK 100 million (€9.8 million/$12 million) conditional on the achievement of some pre-determined milestones.