Chilean salmon producer Salmones Austral has secured credit lines worth $40 million (€35.3 million) from three banks to support investment plans over the next three years, which include a new hatchery and further support for its joint venture with Nova Austral.

The syndicated loan is being supplied by Norwegian bank DNB along with Rabobank and Banco BCI.

The $40 million loan complements a $20 million (€17.6 million) revolving credit line with the same banks.

Funds will be used to push on with a previously announced $100 million (€88.2 million) strategic investment plan for 2020-2023.

The plan includes the Los Arrayanes recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) smolt facility in the southern Los Lagos region, which is scheduled to become operational in 2021.

Some of the money will also be used to keep a joint venture with Nova Austral that opened in April in the Magallanes region running.

“Although the world is experiencing a very complex situation as a result of the coronavirus health crisis, in Salmones Austral we have a long-term vision and we are committed to the development of the salmon industry in Chile, in the Los Lagos region and in the Magallanes region,” Christian Samsing said.

In line with the rest of the industry, the company is operating under strict health and safety measures and none of its 1,400 workers at its two processing plants and 20 freshwater and ocean production sites have so far shown symptoms of coronavirus.

To help offset the loss of foodservice business executives are evaluating a move into e-commerce distribution channels.

Salmones Austral, was created in 2013 after the merger of Trusal and Pacific Star.

Annual production is between 45,000- 55,000 metric tons although it has capacity to produce 80,000 tons.

Atlantic salmon makes accounts for 63 percent of production with coho salmon making up the remaining 37 percent.

Salmones Austral, which exports to more than 20 countries, counts Asia and the United States among its key markets.

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