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July 26, 2018

Deloitte issues 'due diligence' report on Nordic Aquafarms' $150M project in Belfast

Courtesy / Nordic Aquafarms
Courtesy / Nordic Aquafarms
An artist's rendering of what Nordic Aquafarms' land-based salmon farm in Belfast will look like in a view looking south.

A report by the international consulting firm Deloitte concludes that the Norwegian company planning to build the Nordic Aquafarms' land-based aquaculture facility in Belfast has gained "significant competence" at its production facilities in Norway and Denmark and is backed by investors who are "experienced and well respected."

The 20-page report was commissioned by the city of Belfast as part of its due diligence in evaluating Nordic Aquafarms' proposed land-based aquaculture facility on a 40-acre site off Route 1. The $150 million first phase of the project has been proceeding through the permitting process, which includes reviews and permit approvals from state and federal agencies as well as additional local approvals.

Thomas Kittredge, Belfast's economic development director, sent a copy of the report to Mainebiz along with a news release identifying the questions the city had asked Deloitte to address in its report:

  • "Is the recirculating aquaculture systems technology being accepted in Norway from a business standpoint and an environmental standpoint?"
  • "Are there any environmental worries or cautions about the recirculating aquaculture systems technology?"
  • "Has the recirculating aquaculture systems technology advanced to the point that it can be successful on such a large scale?"
  • "Does Nordic Aquafarms have the experienced team that they will need to carry such a large project forward?"
  • "Does Nordic Aquafarms enjoy a good reputation in the regional community and business community?"
  • "What is the industry norm for the amount of capital that a company needs to raise before starting project construction on this type of project?"
  • "What happens if the Belfast facility goes out of business, in particular is it likely that other investors will continue the business?"

The report also examined Nordic Aquafarms and their access to private capital and the support of banks. For a copy of the complete report with Deloitte's responses click on the PDF link at the end of this story.

Deloitte's executive summary

In a one-page executive summary, Deloitte made these points about Nordic Aquafarms' proposal for Belfast:

  • "The world has a growing need for protein sources produced in a sustainable way, leaving the environmental footprint as small as possible. Farmed Atlantic salmon has proven to be a more sustainable product than most other comparable protein sources. Due to limited opportunities to significantly increase supply from sea-farmed salmon, Nordic Aquafarms and several other players are attempting to create industrialized and commercially effective land-based salmon farms."
  • Although full-scaled land-based production of salmon is an emerging new technology that has yet to be proven in raising salmon to full harvest size, the technology "is commercially and technologically proven through several years of use on salmon up to smolt size."
  • "Nordic Aquafarms has gained and acquired significant competence during the last years … They have a good reputation with the local and business communities and are seen as both competent and cooperative."
  • "Their current investors are considered to be an experienced group with high investment capacity. Other things being equal, we believe that Nordic Aquafarms should be able to get financing for their initiatives given that they are able to present and good and realistic business case to their potential investors."

Deloitte's report relied on both available information sources and on interviews with representatives of Nordic Aquafarms, relevant government institutions, suppliers of recirculating aquaculture systems technologies, financial institutions, and local organizations in communities where Nordic Aquafarms has facilities, in addition to fish farmers with recirculating aquaculture systems technology experience and industry subject matter experts.

Kittredge said the entire report, along with other information resources pertaining to Nordic Aquafarms' proposed Belfast facility, are available for viewing and download on the city's website here.

DOWNLOAD PDFs

Deloitte's report on Nordic Aquafarms

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