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JBS to acquire Huon, investors demand sustainability

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

JBS signed an agreement to acquire 100% of Huon Aquaculture, Australia’s second-largest salmon producer. The deal, with an implied equity value of $315 million and an enterprise value of $403 million, has already been approved by the controlling shareholders and is expected to be concluded by the end of 2021, with the approval of the other shareholders and the Australian authorities.

“This is a strategic acquisition, which marks the entry of JBS into the aquaculture business. We will repeat what we did previously with poultry, pork and value-added products – to make our portfolio even more complete. Aquaculture will be a new growth platform for our businesses,” said Gilberto Tomazoni, Global CEO of JBS. 

Pressures to increase sustainability and welfare

Days after the takeover, Australian magnate Andrew Forrest, through its investment vehicle Tattarang, increased his stake in the company from 7.33% to 18.51%, “as part of its commitment to supporting the ongoing and sustainable growth of Australia’s aquaculture industry,” said Forrest.

Forrest demands JBS and Huon Aquaculture increase their sustainability and welfare standards, in a video statement. “Huon has demonstrated they want to be leaders in the pursuit of sustainable salmon farming practices but my aspirations for this company are even greater. And there is a range of steps that can be taken by new ownership to achieve this. They include the replacement of fishmeal, moving to completely carbon neutral production and applying leading animal welfare standards and practices,” said Forrest.

Huon responds to Andrew Forrest claims

Huon Aquaculture’s CEO, Peter Bender, in responding to claims from Andrew Forrest about Huon’s environmental and fish welfare practices, said today that his company was the first and only seafood producer in Australia to hold RSPCA certification. Bender said that Huon has always, over 35 years of operation, been uncompromising in its commitment to the highest standards of animal husbandry, biosecurity, environmental management and sustainable farming practices.

 

Photo caption: Huon Aquaculture’s CEO, Peter Bender.

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