Þorsteinn Már Baldvinsson has returned to his position as CEO of seafood company Samherji after stepping down last November. Þorsteinn stepped down from the position last November after an investigation alleged the large fishing company had bribed Namibian government officials to gain access to lucrative fishing grounds, while also taking advantage of international loopholes to avoid taxes.
A notice on the Samherji website announcing Þorsteinn’s return states that his main task will be leading the company through the challenges presented by COVID-19. “Þorsteinn Már has previously steered Samherji through the Icelandic banking collapse and the global financial crisis with outstanding results. The board of Samherji therefore believes that no one is better equipped to tackle the current situation,” Eiríkur S. Jóhannsson, chairman of the board, is quoted as saying.
Returns despite ongoing investigation
In the wake of the bribery allegations, Samherji solicited the aid of Norway-based law firm Wikborg Rein to conduct an internal investigation. The hiring of Wikborg Rein was heavily criticised, as the firm also defended Samherji’s interests in Namibia. The firm’s investigation is ongoing, and Samherji states that it is expected to be completed later this year.
Samherji increases stake in Eimskip
On March 10, Samherji increased its stake in Icelandic freight company Eimskip by 3.05%, giving it a 30.11% stake in the company after the purchase. As a result, the company’s holding exceeded the acquisition limit. However, Samherji Holding requested an exemption from the takeover obligation, which the Central Bank’s Financial Supervisory Authority approved on March 31. The Authority considers that the minority protection of other shareholders has not been violated.
“These are very particular and unusual conditions on the financial market,” stated Björgólfur Jóhannsson, director of Samherji Holding. “We do not therefore consider it wise to put forth a takeover bid in the shadow of this turmoil but we hope the conditions will be more favourable later.”