Kolbjorn Giskeodegard, formerly a prominent seafood analyst and CFO of the land-based salmon farming company Columbi Salmon, has returned to his role at Nordea Bank. Giskeodegard’s new position involves assisting large companies with various financial aspects, including capital raising, initial public offerings (IPOs), and acquisitions. His extensive industry experience, spanning over 25 years, positions him well to navigate the intersection of seafood and capital markets in his new role.
In the summer of 2020, Giskeodegard left Nordea to co-found Columbi Salmon, a start-up focused on land-based salmon farming near Ostend in Belgium. Despite his departure, the company is still in the process of obtaining final permits for the Belgian plant. In the interim, Columbi Salmon is exploring vegetable production in Trondelag. Giskeodegard’s return to Nordea does not indicate a loss of faith in land-based salmon farming, as he emphasizes the favorable macro conditions and growing interest in local production.
While Giskeodegard acknowledges the challenges in obtaining permits for the Belgian plant, he remains optimistic about the potential for land-based salmon farming. He anticipates growth in this sector, citing promising operations by various companies and the advantage of local production, especially in the context of distribution challenges.
Columbi Salmon Managing Director Anders Hagen expressed regret over Giskeodegard’s departure but noted that his ideas continue to influence the company. Columbi Salmon has plans to utilize wastewater from a hatchery in Trondelag for vegetable production and is awaiting the resolution of appeals against production permits in Belgium. Once these permits are finalized, the company aims to recapitalize and commence construction. Columbi Salmon already has agreements with suppliers for a plant with an annual production capacity of up to 15,000 metric tons of salmon. Additionally, the company is exploring potential locations for land-based salmon facilities in Europe. The Refsnes family is the largest owner of Columbi Salmon, holding approximately 50%, with other stakeholders including Gustav Witzoe, Johan H. Andresen (Ferd), and management. Giskeodegard retains a small shareholding in the company.