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Cell Aquaculture Raises $1.2m, But Postpones Vegas Venture

AUSTRALIA - Global fish farming company Cell Aquaculture Ltd has placed 8m shares at 15c each to institutional investors, raising $1.2m.

Investors also received 1-for-3 free options, exercisable at 20c a share, with a three-year term.

Executive chairman Mr Paul Hopper commented: "With the wide scope of hatcheries and production facilities we are planning on developing, these funds will further enable us to strengthen our presence in international markets, particularly Asia.

"The strengthening of our balance sheet will also aid in attracting suitable partnerships.

"We are extremely grateful for the support from our existing shareholders as well as new investors."

In view of the high levels of interest in Cell's technology from southeast Asia, the company has decided to postpone the establishment of its proposed Las Vegas venture and will not be proceeding with this project in the medium term.

The postponement follows Cell's decision in October to cease its fledgling Mississippi aquaculture operation, resulting in combined losses of $2.41 million.

Cell was planning to re-locate and install a significant amount of the Mississippi plant and equipment to the Nevada site.

Mr Hopper said the latest capital raising, together with the wide-scope of hatcheries and production facilities it was planning to develop, would further enable it to strengthen its presence in international markets, particularly Asia.

"The strengthening of our balance sheet will also aid in attracting suitable partnerships. We are extremely grateful for the support from our existing shareholders as well as new investors," Mr Hopper said.

In addition to established barramundi production at Cell's Hamilton Hill-based headquarters in Perth, the company has built production facilities in the US, Netherlands and Bulgaria, and has now commenced construction of large-scale facility in Malaysia, in joint venture with the Terengganu State Government of Malaysia.

The fund raising involved institutional investors as well as other sophisticated investors who subscribed to 8 million shares at 15 cents each.

Investors also get a 1 for 3 free option exercisable at 20 cents per share, with a three year term.

Cell said the venture was on track to provide significant revenue for the company

Ellen Hardy

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