Cooke captures Australian target Tassal
The Cooke aquaculture group has acquired the large Tasmanian salmon farming company Tassal, which it has been tracking for the past two months.
Cooke announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which (via a wholly-owned Australian subsidiary) it has agreed to acquire all outstanding shares of Tassal for AUS $5.23 (£3.04) per share in cash.
The transaction price represents a premium of 49% to Tassal’s undisturbed closing share price on June 22, 2022.
Financial analysts said at the outset that Cooke would have to offer at least $5 per share (£2.91) if it was to succeed.
Tassal is the largest vertically integrated seafood producer and blue agri-tech business in Australia.
With over 36 years’ experience, it employs over 1,700 people in Tasmania and Australia who farmed 40,000 metric tonnes of Atlantic salmon and 5,500 metric tonnes of black tiger prawns for domestic and export markets including Asia, New Zealand and USA.
Tassal distributes salmon and prawns through its De Costi Seafood business in Lidcombe, New South Wales, Australia, where it also sources and processes a wide range of seafood. Salmon is offered as fresh deli-grade, fresh packaged and smoked for supermarkets. Prawns are distributed through supermarkets, delicatessens, and fish markets under the Tropic Co trademark.
Tassal’s salmon farms span five marine zones, four freshwater hatcheries and four processing facilities in Tasmania, while prawn farming, processing and seafood processing is undertaken in New South Wales and Queensland.
CEO Glenn Cooke said: “Tassal is an excellent fit with Cooke, as we see many similarities between our two companies. Our people and communities are very comparable as well, with agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, and forestry prominently supporting export-driven economies.
“Our family-owned company is keen to have the opportunity to continue to grow Tassal from the strong base the employees, management and board have created.
“We have demonstrated acquisition history where Cooke has left operations management in place for continuity. We are highly impressed with the quality of Tassal’s infrastructure, people and culture.”
“We understand completely that the Tasmanian fish farming industry is Australia’s most valuable seafood production sector, and our top priority will be to work with other producers and government regulators on continuous environmental improvement plans as well as strengthening supply chain and local community relationships.”
He added that Cooke intends to make strategic investments in engineering, science and technology to further enhance Tassal’s capabilities, in addition to growing their sales reach through leveraging our worldwide seafood distribution channels, and reiterated Cooke’s commitment to sustainability in production.
Mark Ryan, Managing Director and CEO of Tassal said: “Combining our two companies’ people-first cultures and our shared passion for producing top quality seafood, is a natural fit. A future acquisition by Cooke enables Tassal to fast-track our goal to be one of the world’s most transparent and sustainable protein producers.”