ECONOMY

Fish farm merger deal unlikely

Talks on merging three of the country’s largest fish farms have taken place recently but are unlikely to lead to a deal anytime soon due the low level of share prices, a source close to the discussions said yesterday. The local press has been reporting that Dutch investment fund Linnaeus Capital Partners, which recently purchased minority stakes in aquaculture companies Dias, Nireus and Selonda ranging from 5 to 12 percent, is in talks with majority shareholders of the three firms in a bid to create a major player in the sector. «These sorts of deals are not completed when shares are at the current lows. Who would sell at these prices?» the source told Kathimerini English Edition. «A deal is unlikely unless there is an agressive takeover or the companies are in real financial strife; something that does not apply here.» The fish farms’ shares, which are traded on the Athens bourse, have tumbled over the last three years, losing between 50 and 83 percent of their value. With fish prices expected to keep rising, aquaculture is one of the country’s strongest growing industries, exporting most of its products and gaining market share over fish caught in the open sea.