Cooke Inc., the parent company of Cooke Aquaculture Inc. of New Brunswick, Canada, has announced the completion of the acquisition of Tassal Group Limited of Australia. It has acquired all outstanding shares of Tassal for AUD 5.23 per share in cash by way of a scheme of AUD 5.23t or a total enterprise value of approximately AUD 1.7B (CAD 1.5B).
This follows a Tassal shareholder vote held on November 3, with voting majorities that overwhelmingly approved the Scheme. Previously, the Supreme Court of New South Wales ordered the final apporval of the Scheme on November 8. With over 36 years of experience, Tassal is Australia’s largest vertically integrated seafood producer and Blue AgTech business. Its footprint spans from Southern Tasmania to the North of Queensland.
Tassal annually harvests 40,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon in five marine farming zones. These, supported by four land-based freshwater hatcheries and four processing facilities. Also, the company farms 5,500 tonnes of Australian Black Tiger Prawns from two hatcheries, three pond farms, and processing facilities.
The company domestically and internationally distributes and processes salmon, prawns, and other seafood in fresh, smoked, and frozen categories. Further, it distributes products under the company’s brands including Tropic Co – The Aussie Prawn, De Costi Seafood, Superior Gold, and Tasmanian Smokehouse.
The Tassal purchase is Cooke’s first investment in Australia. Moreover, the largest-ever for the family-owned seafood and nutritional products company since it first began in 1985 in New Brunswick.
Promoting sustainable farming practices
Cooke believes Tassal will be a major contributor in furthering its commitment to the continuous improvement of animal husbandry, biosecurity, environmental management, and sustainable farming practices.
“We are thrilled to be joining the Tasmanian aquaculture industry. We look forward to welcoming Tassal’s 1,700 employees to the Cooke family of companies,” said Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Inc.
“Over the last few months, and members of our global management team have had the opportunity to visit Tassal’s operations. They have been so impressed by the team’s dedication to what they do and their communities. We’re looking forward to working with Tassal’s employees and customers to ensure that we continue to produce high-quality, sustainable seafood for the Australian market and beyond,” he added.
Like New Brunswick, Tasmania’s isolated coastline, natural environment and cool climate make it the primary location for Australian aquaculture of cooler water species. Species farmed by Tasmanian producers include Atlantic salmon, oysters, mussels, abalone, seahorses and seaweeds.
To clarify, Marine farming is now one of the State’s major employers with thousands of Tasmanians working in the industry. The National Aquaculture Strategy, in collaboration with state and territory governments, aims to double aquaculture production in Australian waters to an annual value of $2 billion by 2027.
“Producing healthy and nutritious seafood comes with great responsibility. Whether we are farming prawns on land or salmon in the sea, our commitment is to be a responsible business respecting our people, the environment, and the communities we operate. As we deliver our vision of sustainably feeding tomorrow which aligns perfectly with Cooke’s core purpose,” noted Mark Ryan, CEO of Tassal.
Cooke is grateful to The Australian Trade and Investment Commission and The High Commission of Canada to Australia. Because of its support in facilitating trade and investment between our Commonwealth realm countries. Australian investment bank Kidder Williams acted as a buy-side financial adviser for Cooke. Australian law firm Allens acted as legal counsel for Cooke.
About the Cooke Family of Companies
The Cooke family of companies includes global aquaculture divisions. Including its wholly-owned subsidiary Cooke Aquaculture Inc. and Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. As well as seafood and wild fishery divisions under Cooke Seafood USA, Inc., Wanchese Fish Company, Inc., Omega Protein Corporation, Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, Northeast Nutrition Scotland, Cooke Aquaculture Spain / Grupo Culmarex, Bioriginal Europe/Asia B.V. in The Netherlands, Cooke Uruguay S.A., Seajoy Seafood Corporation, one of the largest premium shrimp farms in Latin America, and Morubel N.V., the leading shrimp processor in Western Europe.
Firstly, Cooke has Atlantic salmon farming operations in Atlantic Canada, the United States, Chile, and Scotland. Besides, seabass and seabream farming operations in Spain. With the Tassal acquisition, Cooke now has a global workforce approaching 13,000 employees in 11 countries. Mainly located in rural areas.
Above all, Cooke harvests and sells 30% wild seafood and 70% farmed seafood. Cooke works with several third-party certification programs to ensure operations and products continue to meet and exceed industry standards.
Finally, it was recently named one of the Top 25 Seafood Suppliers in North America for Sustainability & Conservation. Cooke Aquaculture Inc. has been recognized for seventeen years as one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies. Winners are amongst the best-in-class of Canadian-owned and managed companies demonstrating strategy, capability, and commitment to achieve sustainable growth.
About Tassal Group Limited
Tassal Group Limited is a vertically integrated Atlantic salmon and Australian Black Tiger Prawn grower, processor, marketer, and seller for both the Australian domestic and export markets.
Furthermore, it is committed to taking a sustainability leadership role in aquaculture and seafood. Sourcing underpinning the ambition of Australia’s aquaculture leader and leading brand.