AquaChile takes USD 36 million loss from Rainforest Tilapia divestiture

AquaChile's headquarters.

Chile’s largest salmon farmer, AquaChile, has completed the divestiture of its tilapia operations in Costa Rica, selling its subsidiary Grupo ACI to Costa Rica’s AquaFoods Group for USD 6 million (EUR 5.4 million), AquaChile CEO Sady Delgado reported to Chile’s markets regulator CMF.

“The effect on income from this transaction was a total loss of USD 36.4 million [EUR 33 million],” Delgado said, adding that Costa Rica’s competition watchdog had approved the operation on 17 March, with the deal finalized 31 March.

AquaChile previously said the sale was completed to allow it to concentrate fully on salmon production. Following Chilean food protein giant Agrosuper's purchase of a 67 percent share in AquaChile in a 2018 deal worth USD 850 million (EUR 770 million), it made it clear the firm’s Costa Rica tilapia operations did not fit into the company’s strategy.

Grupo AquaCorporación Internacional (Grupo ACI) has participated in the tilapia industry for more than 30 years. It developed the Rainforest Tilapia brand, focusing on supplying fresh tilapia to large supermarket chains, distributors, and restaurants in the U.S.. and achieved a market share of more than 25 percent during 2019, according to AquaChile's 2020 financial report. The acquisition includes tilapia production in Guanacaste, a processing plant in Terrapez, and the commercial operation based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

The AquaFoods Group is a subsidiary of the Costa Rica-based seafood company Industrias Martec, one of Costa Rica’s largest exporters of wild-caught fish, and it also works in aquaculture via its cultivation of spotted rose snapper (Lutjanus guttatus). The company is experimenting with integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) as part of an expansion into offshore cage aquaculture. Its spotted rose snapper operation has 4-star Best Aquaculture Practices certification for its closed-cycle hatchery located in Guanacaste, its offshore farm, and processing plant.

Martec previously said its Grupo ACI acquisition supported its mission of “feeding the world sustainably through water,” and its growth strategy. Martec has said the acquisition's value proposition lies in selling fresh products coming from Costa Rica, a country renowned for its environmental stewardship.

“This will be the way to feed the world in the not-so-distant future. It makes sense in terms of synergies,” the company said in a statement.  

Photo courtesy of AquaChile


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