Salmon Evolution Holding -- a land-based salmon farming business with its first production facility under construction in western Norway -- has signed a joint venture agreement with seafood giant Dongwon Industries for the establishment of its 20,000-metric-ton salmon farm in South Korea.

Dongwon will hold a controlling 51 percent stake in the company, named K Smart Farming, with the cost for phase one of the project, which will produce 10,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon, set at NOK 1.6 billion (€154 million/$187 million).

Phase-one development will be funded by financial institutions as well as Dongwon and Salmon Evolution.

The purpose of the joint venture is to develop, construct and operate a land -based salmon farming facility with an annual capacity of 20,000 metric tons in South Korea using Salmon Evolution's hybrid flow through (HFS) technology, including necessary upstream and downstream facilities and operations.

Salmon Evolution and Dongwon are targeting a construction start date in 2022, with commencement of grow-out production in 2024.

"This collaboration is in accordance with Salmon Evolution's overall strategy for international expansion, leveraging our in-house experience and HFS competence in developing close-to-market salmon production in collaboration with local first-class partners," said Salmon Evolution CEO Hakon Andre Berg.

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"K Smart is of strategic importance for Dongwon, and we are confident that Salmon Evolution's low-risk HFS technology coupled with its highly competent organization will help facilitate a successful project and revolutionize how fresh Atlantic salmon is sold and distributed in South Korea," said Dongwon Industries CFO Yun Ki Yun.

The firms will also cooperate on branding and marketing of the Atlantic salmon from K Smart and Salmon Evolution in the Korean market. K Smart will be responsible for all development costs and investments related to the project.

"We are thrilled about entering the Korean market together with a tier 1 seafood player like Dongwon," said Salmon Evolution Chairman Tore Tonseth.

"Through K Smart we will be able to serve the highly attractive and fast-growing Korean market with Atlantic salmon of superior quality and unmatched freshness 52 weeks a year. The joint venture structure with Dongwon also ensures a strong local credibility for the project and offers Salmon Evolution a capital efficient and accretive model for growing our business."

Last month Salmon Evolution started actively recruiting for an executive to head up its Asian operations.

Dongwon said in September it will invest about KRW 200 billion ($168.5 million/€142.1 million) in 35,000 pyeong (116,000 square meters) of land in Gangwon Province, South Korea, for the initial land-based salmon farming complex.