ZB

NZ King Salmon pours cold water on takeover talk

Author
Jamie Gray, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 30 Jun 2022, 11:29am
NZ King Salmon says it has not been approached regarding a possible takeover. Photo / Supplied
NZ King Salmon says it has not been approached regarding a possible takeover. Photo / Supplied

NZ King Salmon pours cold water on takeover talk

Author
Jamie Gray, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 30 Jun 2022, 11:29am

New Zealand King Salmon Investments (NZKS) said that, contrary to media speculation, it had not been approached regarding a potential takeover.

"NZKS confirms that it has not been approached, and is not in discussions with any parties, regarding a potential takeover transaction," the South Island salmon farmer said in a short notice to the NZX.

"New Zealand King Salmon remains in compliance with its NZX continuous disclosure obligations and will continue to inform the market in accordance with them," it said.

The Australian newspaper had earlier said that NZ King Salmon was understood to be on the market, with major industry players among the most logical buyers.

"DataRoom understands that Kiwi investment bank Cameron Partners has been testing buyer interest for the business that generates about $175m in annual revenue," the paper said.

The company is listed on the New Zealand stock exchange and has a market value of about $105m, the paper noted.

Major players in the New Zealand salmon industry are Sanford and Sealord.

King salmon are born in freshwater before spending most of their life at sea and are the only salmon species farmed in New Zealand, while the rest of the world farms the more common Atlantic salmon species.

NZ King Salmon's major shareholders include the wealthy Tiong family, based in Malaysia, which has a 39.6 per cent stake, as well as China Resources with 9.8 per cent and NZ Super with 9.1 per cent.

Shareholders were told at this week's annual meeting that they may face another capital raise in two or three years' time if its planned Blue Endeavour ocean farm goes ahead.

In May, the company completed a heavily discounted $60.1m underwritten rights offer - at 15c a share - to shore up its balance sheet after a challenging 12 months.

The company's Blue Endeavour project - which has been four years in the planning - will involve rearing fish in colder waters 7km off the South Island coast in Cook Strait.

NZ King Salmon said it will know whether it has environmental consent for the project by the end of September.

Chief executive Grant Rosewarne said the first possible harvest for Blue Endeavour would be in 2027 but "NZ King Salmon acknowledges that we first need to prove the positive outcomes of our new agriculture model".

"Assuming approval to proceed, before expanding into Blue Endeavour, all options for funding remain on the table," he said.