Cooke Aquaculture has once again upped its stake in Australian salmon farmer Tassal, injecting a further AUD 30.1 million (€20.2 million/$20.8 million) into the integrated producer, after numerous bids to acquire the company earlier this year failed.

The purchase of another 6.2 million shares grows Cooke's stake from 7.6 to 10.49 percent.

Cooke's AUD 1.04 billion ($719.89 million/€693 million) takeover bid for the company was rebuffed earlier this month, prompting the company to buy a 5.4 percent stake in the firm, increasing it a few days later to 7.6 percent. Since then, the company has made two more stock purchases, bringing Cooke's spend on acquisition of stock to AUD 51. 8 million (€34.8/$35.7 million).

Last year, in an attempt to add Australia salmon farmer Huon to its portfolio, Cooke found itself slugging it out with meat giant JBS in an acquisition fight. JBS ultimately prevailed and acquired Huon.

Tassal revealed that Cooke had earlier made an offer of AUD 4.67 (€3.06/$3.24) per share and later one for AUD 4.80 (€3.14/$3.33) per share to acquire the company. Cooke confirmed to IntraFish it had made these offers on May 26 and June 6, respectively.

Cooke said it believed its proposed cash consideration was an attractive premium given that Tassal’s salmon volumes have been maximized because of government restrictions on new marine farming leases.

But in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Tassal's board said the company had an attractive independent future and was well positioned to deliver growth in shareholder value.

Tassal is a vertically integrated salmon and shrimp farmer and processor for both the Australian domestic and export markets. Tassal employs over 1,700 people in Tasmania and Australia.

The company posted a 14 percent rise in operating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to AUD 89.5 million (€56.7 million/$64.5 million) in the six months to Dec. 31, while revenue rocketed 43 percent to AUD 419.1 million (€265.5 million/$301.8 million).

With sales of roughly CAD 2.4 billion ($1.9 billion/€1.8 billion), Cooke has salmon farming operations in Atlantic Canada, the United States, Chile, and Scotland; seabass and seabream farming operations in Spain; seafood and wild fishery divisions in North and South America; and one of the largest premium shrimp farms in Latin America.