Canadian verticallyintegrated aquaculture giant Cooke Inc has completed its acquisition of Australian salmon and shrimp farmer Tassal Group.

Cooke, via a wholly-owned Australian subsidiary, acquired all outstanding shares in Tassal for AUD 5.23 (€3.47/$3.38) per share in cash, or a total enterprise value of approximately AUD $1.7 billion (€1.1 billion/$1.1 billion).

This follows a Tassal shareholder vote held on Nov. 3, with voting majorities that overwhelmingly approved the deal, which received final approval from the Supreme Court of New South Wales five days later.

With over 36 years’ experience, Tassal is Australia’s largest vertically integrated seafood producer.

Its footprint spans from southern Tasmania to the north of Queensland.

Tassal annually harvests 40,000 metric tons of Atlantic salmon in five marine farming zones supported by four land-based freshwater hatcheries and four processing facilities. The company also farms 5,500 metric tons of black tiger shrimp from two hatcheries, three pond farms and processing facilities.

The company sells and distributes salmon, shrimp and other seafood within Australia and internationally under brands Tropic Co – The Aussie Prawn, De Costi Seafood, Superior Gold, and Tasmanian Smokehouse.

The Tassal purchase is Cooke’s first investment in Australia and the largest-ever for the family-owned seafood company since its founding in 1985 in New Brunswick.

13,000 employees in 11 countries

“We are thrilled to be joining the Tasmanian aquaculture industry and look forward to welcoming Tassal’s 1,700 employees to the Cooke family of companies,” said Cooke CEO Glenn Cooke.

“Over the last few months, myself and members of our global management team have had the opportunity to visit Tassal’s operations and have been so impressed by the team’s dedication to what they do and their communities."

Like New Brunswick, Tasmania's isolated coastline and cool climate make it the primary location for Australian aquaculture of cooler water species.

"Whether we are farming prawns on land or salmon in the sea, our commitment is to be a responsible business respecting our people, the environment and communities we operate within as we deliver our vision of sustainably feeding tomorrow, which aligns perfectly with Cooke’s core purpose," said Tassal CEO Mark Ryan.

The Cooke family of companies spans global aquaculture divisions, including its wholly-owned subsidiary Cooke Aquaculture and Kelly Cove Salmon, as well as seafood and wild fishery divisions under Cooke Seafood USA, Wanchese Fish Company, Omega Protein Corporation, Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, Northeast Nutrition Scotland, Cooke Aquaculture Spain/Grupo Culmarex, Bioriginal Europe/Asia B.V. in the Netherlands, Cooke Uruguay, Seajoy Seafood Corporation and Morubel.

Cooke has Atlantic salmon farming operations in Atlantic Canada, the United States, Chile, and Scotland and seabass and seabream farming operations in Spain. Globally, Cooke harvests and sells 30 percent wild seafood and 70 percent farmed seafood.

With the Tassal acquisition, Cooke now has a global workforce approaching 13,000 employees in 11 countries – mainly located in rural areas.