BENCHMARK Holdings PLC, the international animal health, technical publishing and sustainability science business, today announced the proposed acquisitions of the entire issued share capital of SalmoBreed AS and 81.84 per cent of the issued share capital of Stofnfiskur HF.
The deal would also involve the placing of 82,353,000 new Ordinary Shares in the Company at 85 pence per share, raising gross proceeds of approximately £70 million to fund the Acquisitions and to increase the vaccine manufacturing capacity of its BioCampus facility in Edinburgh.
Through combining Norwegian-based SalmoBreed and Icelandic company Stofnfiskur, Benchmark will bring together the strengths of SalmoBreed in genetics with Stofniskur’s unique capability to supply fertile ova 52 weeks of the year to create a world-leading salmon and aquaculture breeding business, expected to be the world’s second largest salmon egg producer.
In addition, the technology held within the two companies will provide an excellent platform from which to move into new and emerging markets for aquaculture breeding.
The proposed acquisitions will create a fourth business division within the Company, Benchmark Genetics & Breeding, which is expected immediately to become the second largest supplier of salmon eggs and genetic expertise in the world.
The new division will have diversified target markets and genetically advanced strains, reflecting Benchmark’s continued commitment to the aquaculture industry, which now supplies more animal protein to the global market than beef.
The technology used in breeding and genetics also shares the same fundamental biology with the technology currently employed by Benchmark’s Animal Health and Sustainability Science divisions, offering synergies within the Company’s existing businesses.
Benchmark Chief Executive Officer, Malcolm Pye, commented: ‘We are delighted to be making today’s announcement. The acquisitions are a great fit for Benchmark.
‘Our management team has long experience in the primary breeding sector in poultry, cattle, sheep and pigs as animal breeding and genetics plays such a primary role in the development of production efficiency and sustainability across the global livestock and aquaculture industries.
‘The acquisitions create numerous opportunities across the business for solving key industry challenges including disease, production and nutritional efficiency.
‘These acquisitions represent a unique opportunity for Benchmark to enter the animal breeding and genetics industry at an exciting time in the development of aquaculture globally.
‘Bringing the capabilities and expertise of SalmoBreed and Stofnfiskur into Benchmark significantly expands our activities in aquaculture, strengthens our position as a leading international supplier to the industry and creates a substantial platform for future growth and diversification into different species.’