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Merger of SalMar ASA and NTS ASA

With this decision, a decision is taken on the merger of SalMar and NTS, but with such a merger, Arnarlax and Arctic Fish, which farm Icelandic salmon in the Westfjords, would have been controlled by the same party. The conclusion of the investigation is that there are no grounds for intervention in the case.

The merging parties and their subsidiaries operate in fish farming, mostly in Norway but also in Iceland. Together, the companies control almost half of the production capacity, granted by licenses for salmon farming in Iceland.

The merger was duly notified to ICA on 22 July 2022. Shortly after, the merger was notified to the EU, but prior to that, pre-notification talks had taken place.

It was the conclusion of both the ICA’s investigation and DG Comp’s investigation that Icelandic farmed salmon belongs to a special product market. Had the merger been accepted, it would have led to a significant distortion of competition, with the combined company becoming by far the largest producer of Icelandic salmon into the EEA area. Such a merger could have led to higher prices and fewer options for trade with Icelandic salmon.

In order to respond to that competition distortion, SalMar offered to DG Comp to submit to conditions, i.a. about selling NTS's operations in Iceland, specifically Arctic Fish. After a market test of such a proposal, it was concluded that they would prevent distortion of competition due to the merger. A decision was taken to that effect in case no. M.10699 – SALMAR / NTS.

ICA concluded that the divestment and conditions would fully prevent the competitive distortion that the merger would otherwise have caused in Iceland. Therefore, ICA did not consider it necessary to intervene.