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Aker ASA announced today that it has entered a strategic partnership with SalMar ASA to establish a global offshore aquaculture company. The new joint company, SalMar Aker Ocean AS, will operate within offshore fish farming, including offshore and semi-offshore, combining Aker and SalMar's industry experience, leading competence in salmon production, software, and cleantech to create the world's most reliable and intelligent offshore farming operations with the highest requirements for fish welfare and a zero-emissions value chain ambition.

"The aquaculture industry is at the cusp of a new, more sustainable era, opening up for a new resource base and with green production," said Øyvind Eriksen, President and CEO of Aker.

"The new company combines Aker's leading industrial track record within offshore operations with SalMar's history as one of the world's largest and most efficient producers of farmed salmon. We also share a vision for the potential of software, data, and analytics, and we believe we can join forces to make the next step to develop ocean farming, including using technology and joint industrial capabilities to protect ocean health, fish welfare and promote sustainable growth."

SalMar and Aker through its wholly owned subsidiary Aker Capital AS, will eventually own 66.6 per cent and 33.4 per cent, respectively, of the joint company, SalMar Aker Ocean, which will comprise SalMar's interests in its semi -offshore and offshore farming operations. Aker will contribute up to NOK 1.65 billion cash in three tranches. The company will continue the ongoing work within testing, learning, researching, and developing offshore farming operations, including through the world's first operating offshore fish farm, Ocean Farm 1 ; and the technology of the innovative Smart Fish Farms to be positioned in offshore Norwegian waters, and eventually internationally.

Norway is currently at the forefront in developing this technology and industry world -wide. Ocean Farm 1 and Smart Fish Farm have both been developed with a unique interdisciplinary partnership between SalMar - building on more than 30 years of experience - and world-leading players in Norway within aquaculture, offshore and R&D. Olav Andreas Ervik will head the company as CEO and the board will consist of six members, including Gustav Witzøe, Atle Eide, Kjell Inge Røkke and Øyvind Eriksen.

The new offshore technology opens vast new areas for fish farming with optimal biological conditions for the salmon. SalMar Aker Ocean will continue to develop the offshore technology to ensure production on the salmon's terms, meet the highest requirements in respect of fish welfare and minimize the environmental footprint. "SalMar's focus on the open ocean marked the start of a new era in the seafood industry. We are very pleased to be partnering with a strong industry partner like Aker. Together, we will be at the forefront of ensuring sustainable growth on the salmon's terms, utilizing the potential of the ocean to produce healthier food, deploying digital technologies, cleantech, and using superior supplier industry capabilities at a critical time for ensuring sustainable food production in the long-term. Together, we can take the next technological leap for offshore farming, with a global ambition" said Gustav Witzøe, CEO of SalMar.

Over two production cycles, 10,000 tonnes of salmon have been produced at Ocean Farm 1, a full-scale pilot facility based on world-class Norwegian aquaculture and offshore technology. The two production cycles have shown strong biological results and has given valuable insights in respect of future development. The construction and operation of the pilot, combined with Aker's leading engineering, offshore operation, and fabrication capabilities, gives SalMar Aker Ocean an unparalleled position in the next phase of developing offshore fish farming on a global scale. To further accelerate growth, the parties will immediately initiate a project to develop a next-generation semi offshore unit, with an aim at reaching an investment decision for a new production unit as soon as possible. Based on the experience from Ocean Farm 1, SalMar Ocean has developed the Smart Fish Farm technology, with an ambition to build a series of units for offshore production.

SalMar Aker Ocean will continue this work to streamline and digitalize construction and operation processes and will jointly seek approval for locations and licenses offshore, initially within the Norwegian Economic Zone. SalMar Aker Ocean has an ambition to develop a world leading company with global presence. The company will initially focus on establishment of offshore fish farming in Norwegian waters, which will require establishment of a regulatory framework for offshore fish farming. SalMar Aker Ocean will collaborate with Norwegian regulators, the aquaculture industry and other interested parties for the establishment of such framework. In the longer term, SalMar Aker Ocean will target growth in international markets building on experience and know-how from Norway.

The establishment of the joint company is subject to customary closing conditions, and closing is expected in Q1 2022. The parties aim for listing of SalMar Aker Ocean on a relevant stock exchange within one to two years' time.
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