Cooke increases Tassal’s stake to 10%

Cooke Aquaculture has increased its stake in Tassal, the Australian salmon and prawn farming company.

The Canadian seafood giant has secured an additional 6.2 million shares in Tasmania-based Tassal.

The latest move equates to just over 10% of a stake worth an estimated A$30m (£17.26m), according to Australian financial reports. It is considered sufficient to prevent a forced takeover from another takeover bid.

In recent weeks, Tassal has turned down a new takeover offer from Cooke, estimated at AU$4.85 per share (£2.79). Tassal said the offer did not reflect the value of the company and was not in the best interests of shareholders.

Australian financial analysts argue that Cooke will need to offer around $5 per share (£2.88) to succeed.

Tassal is one of Australia’s largest aquaculture companies, employing around 1,700 people and having a turnover of around AU$583m (£335m).

Cooke has been keen for some time to gain a foothold in Australia’s booming aquaculture industry. Last year he missed out on Huon, another big Tasmanian salmon farmer who was sold to Brazilian meat giant JBS.

There is also national concern over the prospect of another Australian company falling into foreign hands. The Tasmanian Alliance for Marine Protection was cited in the Mercurya local news agency, fearing that Tassal, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, would be less transparent if it were part of Cooke, a private family business.

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