Eksfin provides NOK 250m loan backing Norwegian delivery of land-based fish farm to China

Eksfin (Export Finance Norway) steps in to finance Chinese company Nordic Aqua (Ningbo) Co Ltd’s purchase of a land-based salmon farm from Norwegian turnkey supplier AKVA group AS. AKVA will be responsible for equipment, design and construction of the large-scale facility, which will be the first of its kind in China.

Export of Norwegian Technology

Exporter: AKVA group Land Based Norway AS (AKVA), will deliver a ready-to go-turnkey facility

Eksfin’s contribution: NOK 250 million in loan to finance Nordic Aqua (Ningbo) Co Ltd’s purchase of a land-based salmon farm

The first commercial harvest is expected at the start of 2024

Nordic Aqua Partners’ goal is to supply the Chinese market with high-quality Atlantic salmon grown to maturity purely on land. Planned long-term capacity of the facility, which is currently under construction in Ningbo near Shanghai, is 20,000 tonnes per year. The first commercial harvest is expected at the start of 2024.

Constructive collaboration

“Realizing this project would have been much harder without this loan financing. Together with AKVA we got in touch with Eksin early on to evaluate financing possibilities. Getting all the formalities in place has been hard work, especially as the project is located in China, but our cooperation with Eksfin has been constructive and positive throughout the process. We look forward to collaborating further with Eksfin as we develop the project and increase capacity in the future,” said Ragnar Joensen, board chairman of Nordic Aqua Partners AS and Chinese subsidiary Nordic Aqua (Ningbo) Co Ltd.

Ragnar Joensen

Promoting Norwegian exports

Given our mandate to help Norwegian exporters into new markets, this has been an especially exciting project for Eksfin where we are actively contributing to the export of innovative Norwegian technology. Good cooperation and dialogue with the client over a longer period have been crucial to getting to the finish line.

Tone Lunde Bakker, CEO, Eksfin

As encouragement for other exporters and project owners, she adds that Eksfin has high capacity and can tailor financing to individual companies and contracts, alongside other financial institutions. In this case, Dutch multinational banking and financial services company Rabobank is guaranteeing 30% of the loan.

Ready-to-go land-based fish farm

Jæren-based AKVA has been manufacturing equipment for sea-based aquaculture for over 40 years. So far, it has delivered smaller land-based facilities for production of juveniles up to 120 grams in fresh water and post-smolt salmon up to one kilo in brackish water and saltwater. The Ningbo project represents the next generation of larger facility for farming fish up to five kilos. This is challenging but AKVA has all the necessary competence and experience.

“We are delighted to be the main supplier for this project, which will open a new local market for Chinese consumers. As aquaculture engineering experts enabling sustainable, cost-efficient and safe fish farming, we’re also very grateful for the support and backing of Eksfin,” said AKVA chief executive Knut Nesse.

Optimal water quality

Land-based fish farms use RAS (recirculating aquaculture systems) technology that clean and reuse the water. Water loss is negligible with little need for new water except to compensate for evaporation or whatever is lost in the cleaning process. Pumps and pipes are dimensioned to ensure good and stable water quality.

Benefits of locally sourced product

AKVA is a big believer in moving food fish production closer to end-customers, which is one of the major advantages of land-based farming. As China lacks suitable areas for sea-based salmon aquaculture, fresh fish is flown in from Europe and Chile resulting in significantly higher transport costs and import duties than in Europe and the US. Local land-based production has the added benefit of offering much fresher fish.  

Nutreco adds weight

Norwegian company Skretting, which has long experience in facilitating good fish growth conditions for salmon, will deliver feed to the facility. Parent company Nutreco of the Netherlands, one of the world’s leading producers of animal and fish feed, has also invested EUR 20m in the Ningbo project as part of its strategy to develop new markets through direct investment.

About Nordic Aqua Partners AS

Nordic Aqua Partners AS was founded in November 2016 and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange/EURONEXT Growth in December 2020.  The company’s overall objective is to provide the Chinese market with live, high-quality Atlantic salmon locally farmed in a sustainable and state-of-the-art RAS facility located in Xiangshan county of Ningbo. The actual farming will be done by its wholly foreign owned enterprise, Nordic Aqua (Ningbo) Co Ltd.