Forge Group founder Peter Hutchinson is planning to move into agribusiness, with ASX-listed Style announcing the $20 million acquisition of Nor-West Seafoods.
Style is proposing to wholly acquire the Western Australia-based seafoods business for $18 million in cash and 10 million shares at 20 cents each.
“The board is confident that such a quality asset will provide a strong platform for further growth in the seafood industry and provide a structure for potential agribusiness diversification,” Mr Hutchinson said.
As the acquisition will change the nature and scale of Style’s business, it will be required to complete a capital raising (the terms of which have not yet been finalised) in order to relist on the ASX under its new name, Mareterram, which is a subsidiary of Style.
Style has engaged Euroz Securities as corporate adviser for the acquisition and capital raising.
NWS was founded by Kel Brown and operates 10 of the 18 licenses within the Shark Bay Prawn Fishery, making it the largest single operator in the fishery.
Its fleet of 10 fishing vessels targets two major species; king and tiger prawns, with several material by-catches including coral and endeavour prawns, scallops, blue swimmer crabs, squid and cuttlefish.
Style’s board, which currently comprises Mr Hutchinson, Otsana Capital founder Faldi Ismail, and Gilbert + Tobin partner and former Forge director Marcello Cardaci, will be shuffled to bring in current NWS owner Kel Brown as a non-executive director and former Fremantle Dockers and Collingwood defender James Clement as an executive director.
“I am looking forward to working closely with James Clement and Kel Brown in transitioning the NWS business from private to public ownership and ensuring that the Nor-West Seafoods brand name expands into new and more lucrative markets over the medium to long term, potentially via downstream processing and increased product mix of the catch,” Mr Hutchinson said.
The company plans to be relisted on the ASX under its new business model by the end of October.
Style shares were unchanged at 0.9 cents each at 2:30pm.