AquaBounty doubles down on planned Ohio farm with sale of Indiana facility

AquaBounty's facility in Albany, Indiana, U.S.A.

AquaBounty Technologies announced on Wednesday, 14 February a plan to sell its land-based recirculating aquaculture system salmon farm in the U.S. state of Indiana.

At the same time, Maynard, Massachusetts, U.S.A.-based AquaBounty has been seeking to raise funds for a separate RAS farm it is building in Pioneer, Ohio, U.S.A. The company broke ground in April 2022, but in June 2023, it announced it was pausing construction due to rapid cost escalations that pushed its price to USD 395 million (EUR 361 million) from the initial estimate of around USD 200 million (EUR 182 million).

AquaBounty CEO Sylvia Wulf said the company has been “exploring a wide range of financing alternatives to strengthen its balance sheet and increase its cash position” and that the sale of the Indiana farm was a “first step in that process.”

"We have been focused on securing funding for our near and long-term needs so we can continue to pursue our growth strategy,” Wulf said in a press release. “Making the decision to sell our Indiana farm was a difficult one for us. We have built a strong operation there with a passionate and experienced team, and I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our team members in Indiana for the job they have done over the last eight years to transform the facility and create a well-run operation. Our focus will be on harvesting the remaining genetically engineered Atlantic salmon for sale over the coming months to ready the farm for a new owner.”

AquaBounty, which has pioneered the use of genetic engineering to allow for faster growth of its salmon, acquired the Albany, Indiana-based farm in June 2017 for USD 14.2 million (then EUR 11.8 million) from Bell Fish Company. After renovations, the farm is capable of producing 1,200 metric tons (MT) of salmon per year. Wulf said the limited grow-out potential of the Indiana farm meant it was primarily used to demonstrate AquaBounty’s ability to grow and market its salmon.

“With construction on its Ohio farm site roughly 30 percent completed, the company plans to prioritize the financing alternatives necessary to resume and complete its construction, while the proceeds from the sale of the Indiana farm are expected to provide needed liquidity to AquaBounty's balance sheet,” Wulf said.

Wulf said AquaBounty has hired investment bank Berenson & Company to guide its sale process and develop additional financing alternatives for the company.

"We are proceeding to pursue additional funding across multiple financing alternatives with the goal of securing our cash requirements in the coming months,” Wulf said.

Shares of AquaBounty, which are traded on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, were up 2 percent, reaching USD 2.55 (EUR 2.38), on the day of the announcement. The price is still down from its 52-week high of USD 18.00 (EUR 16.77), though it is up from its 52-week low of USD 1.57 (EUR 1.46), set in November 2023. To avoid being delisted, AquaBounty executed a 1-for-20 reverse stock split in October 2023.

Besides its Ohio farm, which received a favorable court order in January 2024, AquaBounty also operates a broodstock and egg production farm in Prince Edward Island, Canada. In its Q3 2023 results, AquaBounty generated USD 733,000 (EUR 684,000) in revenue while posting a net loss of USD 6.1 million (EUR 5.7 million).

Photo courtesy of AquaBounty


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