Norwegian salmon farmer Nordlaks is putting several large investments on hold as a direct consequence of the government's proposal to introduce a new 40 percent tax on salmon production.

Nordlaks is stopping work on a new processing factory, as well as its head office on Boroya in Vesteralen, Norway, it said.

The company is also putting three large investments in land-based hatcheries on hold: in Morsvika in Sorfold municipality, Nusfjord in Flakstad municipality and at Rodskjaer in Harstad municipality.

"Together, these investments amount to NOK 5 billion (€469.6 million/$459.8 million) and would create hundreds of new jobs and major ripple effects in the local communities," Nordlaks CEO Eirik Welde said.

Since 2018, Nordlaks has invested more than NOK 3.6 billion (€338.1 million/$331.1 million), mainly in new technology, the company said, adding that the investments have led to an additional 300 jobs at the company and 600 at its suppliers.

In recent years, the group has built a new hatchery in Hamaroy, contracted new well boats, built a sea farm and initiated the construction of the semi-closed breeding facility Hydra.

"We believe that very little of this would have been possible if we were already subject to the tax that is now proposed," said Welde.

"We risk throttling one of the major growth engines along the coast, which has so far created a lot of jobs and discouraged emigration," he said.

As much as 85%

Nordlaks added that the government's proposal does not involve any relief in company tax, wealth tax, dividend tax, production tax, property tax or any other taxes, and estimates that with current rates and the new tax on top, the burden will be up to 85 percent.

For the next six-year period, Nordlaks has identified possible investments totaling NOK 7 billion (€657.4 million/$643.7 million).

"Going forward, we will have to go through all the investment projects again. When the national budget has been processed by the Storting (Norwegian Parliament), we will know more about what can be implemented," said Welde. "

"We fear that the proposal from the government will be met with a shrug of the shoulders from the rest of society and from the decision makers in the Storting," he added.

"Going forward, it is important for us to contribute to ensuring that as many people as possible understand the consequences of what has been proposed, and then together with the other companies we will propose changes before this is adopted," he said.