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Benchmark set to expand in Chile

Atlantic Salmon Breeding & genetics Hatcheries +5 more

Benchmark has been given the opportunity to take sole control of the salmon breeding operation in Chile that it currently jointly owns with Agrosuper.

Initially established as a joint venture (JV) with AquaChile, its Chilean breeding and genetics partner, this changed in January when Agrosuper completed the acquisition of AquaChile. Following today’s announcement, Benchmark is now in discussions regarding the dissolution of the joint venture, which would allow it to pursue an independent strategy.

The JV includes a 50 million egg capacity RAS hatchery

The discussions envisage a return of the company’s original equity investment in the JV, together with Benchmark’s IP rights, the genetic stock and biomass, and resources sufficient to operate the 50 million egg capacity hatchery.

In a statement, released today, Benchmark – the aquaculture health, nutrition and genetics business – said: “The company expects to reinvest the returned funds in the wholly owned business in the coming years to allow the company to enhance biosecurity and achieve full scale production at the bio-secure, land-based facility. The company expects that the proposed strategy will deliver returns in line with those set out when entering the JV.”

Malcolm Pye, CEO of Benchmark, commented: "We are pleased to have the opportunity to fully own the world class salmon breeding facility currently owned by the JV and to reinvest the funds to move towards full-scale production and commercialisation. We look forward to strengthening both our relationships and cooperation with existing and new partners in Chile.

"Whilst this marks a change to Benchmark's approach to the market, it is a positive step towards fulfilling our key objective of accelerating our establishment of a strong local presence in this important market, in line with our strategy."