29/10/2021 - 15:00

Huon shareholders, Forrest endorse takeover

29/10/2021 - 15:00

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JBS Australia is acquiring Huon Aquaculture Group after shareholders voted in favour of the takeover, including Andrew Forrest who criticised the deal, citing animal welfare concerns.

Huon shareholders, Forrest endorse takeover
Huon is a salmon and trout-farming business based in Tasmania. Photo: Huon Aquaculture Group

JBS Australia is acquiring Huon Aquaculture Group after shareholders voted in favour of the takeover, including Andrew Forrest who criticised the deal, citing animal welfare concerns.

At a meeting today, more than 75 per cent of Huon shareholders approved the scheme, passing the threshold for food processing company JBS to acquire 100 per cent of the Tasmanian salmon farmer at $3.85 per share.

According to Huon, 90.05 per cent of shareholders voted and 99.77 per cent cast in favour of the acquisition.

Huon chair Neil Kearney said the takeover was a great outcome for shareholders and the business.

JBS Australia chief executive Brent Eastwood said the company appreciated the positive response from shareholders.

“Acquiring Huon represents our first step into the aquaculture industry for JBS globally,” Mr Eastwood told the ASX.

“We believe that our contracts and our ability to open up and access new markets, combined with the expert team at Huon, create a fantastic opportunity to take this business forward.

“We will uphold the highest standards for superior quality, fish health and sustainable fishing practices- from water management to animal welfare and stock densities.”

Mr Forrest, who holds an 18.5 per cent stake in the Tasmanian salmon farmer through his private company Tattarang’s agribusiness arm Harvest Road, said on Wednesday that he would not vote in favour of the takeover until JBS S.A, JBS Australia’s parent company, made commitments to adopt the same animal welfare and environmental sustainability standards as its Australian business.

JBS S.A responded to Tattarang’s announcement and said it “unequivocally” supported the animal welfare principle No Pain, No Fear, which is a commitment to eliminating extreme discomfort in the last stages of an animal’s life.

Business News contacted Tattarang for comment. 

Earlier this year, Tattarang expressed an interest in buying Huon and submitted a non-binding and conditional indicative offer for the company, but it did not eventuate.   

On Wednesday, Tattarang announced it was going to invest $100 million in a new land-based finfish production facility to rival Huon.

The scheme remains subject to court approval, scheduled for November 3, 2021.

Huon shares remained stable at $3.85 each at the time of writing.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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