In a move that has surprised the international aquaculture sector and would constitute a reverse takeover under the AIM rules, the UK-listed Benchmark Holdings has confirmed that it is contemplating the potential acquisition of the Dutch-based Inve Aquaculture Holding, which prides itself on providing “high-tech, cost-effective nutrition and health tools for the aquaculture industry.
Benchmark Holdings is recognized as a market leader in the supply of applied biotechnology, sustainability science and knowledge transfer to animal health, aquaculture and agriculture sectors, as well as the food supply chain. It has particular interests in salmon breeding technologies,
While Inve Aquaculture Holdings refused to confirm, or deny the proposed deal “until after the sale has been finalised”, a statement on Benchmark |Holdings website today said: \"Benchmark Holdings plc has become aware of speculation and confirms that it is contemplating a potential acquisition which would constitute a reverse takeover under the AIM Rules.”
It adds: “As a result, trading in the company\'s shares will be suspended until such time as an admission document is published in relation to the potential acquisition or the talks otherwise conclude. The company will update shareholders with further information in due course.\"
Trading in the company\'s shares were suspended on Thursday, October 8, and will continue to be suspended until such time as an admission document is published in relation to the potential acquisition or the talks otherwise conclude, the company says.
The confirmation was driven by press reports, the company said, following reports by Bloomberg that it was in competition with Mitsui and Nutreco for the Dutch-based company, which has its origins in Belgium and boasts “advanced animal rearing solutions in both agriculture and aquaculture,” with a reported turnover of $190 million.
It is thought by some observers that the bidding price could reach as high as $350m. However, a spokesman for Nutreco refused to comment on the story, because “we never comment on this sort of media speculation.\"