Tassal turns down Cooke’s offer

Canadian fish farmer Cooke Aquaculture is once again trying to enter the Australian salmon business.

Through its parent company, Cooke Inc, it made a non-binding offer for Tasmania-based salmon producer, the Tassal Group, which was rejected.

The offer, for 100% of Tassal shares, is estimated to be worth around A$1bn (£566m).

A statement from Tassal issued on Tuesday, June 28 said: “The Company’s Board of Directors has evaluated the Indicative Proposal with the assistance of its financial advisor and has decided that the Indicative Proposal does not reflect the fundamental value of the company and was not in the best interests of the shareholders. Accordingly, the company’s board of directors has decided not to engage with Cooke regarding the indicative proposal.

Previously, Cooke acquired a 5.4% stake in the Tassal Group, paying A$41m (£23.2m) for the purchase.

Last year he unsuccessfully tried to get into Huon Aquaculture, also based in Tasmania. Huon was eventually acquired by Brazilian meat giant JBS.

Tassal produces around 40,000 tons of salmon a year and plans to expand into shrimp farming at some point. It has annual revenues of around A$594m (£336.4m) and last year made a net profit of A$34m (£19.3m).

The business started 35 years ago, around the same time that Cooke Aquaculture was launched several thousand miles away.

It is now Australia’s largest producer of Tasmanian-raised Atlantic salmon, with a strong focus on quality and sustainability. It is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Cooke Aquaculture remains a strong family business, but has grown into one of the giants in fish farming with an annual turnover of C$2bn (£1.27bn).

The group employs 10,000 people worldwide and operates in Chile, Canada and Scotland where it is important in the production of organic salmon. He also has interests in shrimp farming in Central America.

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