Cargill’s USD 300 million purchase of Multi X shares greenlit by shareholders

Published on
April 22, 2022
A Cargill facility in Poland.

Shareholders at Multiexport Foods, the majority owner of Chilean salmon farmer Multi X, have approved agricultural giant Cargill’s proposed 24.5 percent purchase of the salmon company.

During an extraordinary shareholders meeting held 18 April, “all of the participating shareholders, which represents 92.23 percent of the issued shares with voting rights, agreed ... to approve the operation with the related party and therefore sign the amended and restated shareholders agreement ... as long as each and every one of the closing conditions established in the purchase agreements are met,” Multiexport Chairman José Ramón Gutiérrez reported to Chile’s securities regulator, CMF.

Under the terms of the agreement, Multi X will receive USD 300 million (EUR 276 million), putting the total value of the company at USD 1.13 billion (EUR 1.04 billion). Mitsui, which has been a Multi X shareholder since 2015, will increase its shareholding in Multi X by 1.13 percent to also reach 24.5 percent ownership. Multiexport Foods will keep control of the company, with 51 percent of total shares.

Multi X is set to benefit from the deal, as Cargill’s  backing will allow the Chilean firm to further consolidate its sales in the U.S. and expand its distribution network in the country, according to Santiago, Chile-based consultancy Econsult Capital.

“The transaction, including the signing of the agreement, will allow Multiexport Foods to receive significant income that will benefit the company and its shareholders. In addition, the valuation of the operation represents an implicit premium with respect to the market value of the salmon farmer the day before the announcement, and a multiple [valuation] of Multi X above the average of comparable purchases in the local salmon industry,” it said in a report.

Econsult Capital said the agreement’s terms and conditions “are in line with usual market practices for transactions of this nature and that the incorporation of Cargill as a shareholder is consistent with the strategic objectives defined by Multi X.”

The deal will allow Cargill, a major aquafeed producer based in the U.S. state of Minnesota, to get a more solid footing into the rapidly-expanding fish-farming market. The move follows on Cargill's  USD 5 million (EUR 4.6 million) investment in Norwegian land-based salmon farming company Salmon Evolution in October 2021. Due to surging food prices worldwide, Cargill is expected to report record profits this year, outpacing its highest-ever profits from 2021 of USD 5 billion (EUR 4.6 billion).

Tim Noonan, the managing director of Cargill’s seafood business, said the move was driven by his company’s efforts to combine innovation and operational excellence to increase supply chain affordability and integrity.

“This partnership is an important next step in the development of our seafood strategy and will leverage our capabilities across the value chain, including consumer insights, culinary innovation, value-added processing know-how, risk management, and fish nutrition and health solutions,” he said.

The transaction remains subject to regulatory approvals and the fulfilment of conditions to which the parties agreed.

Multi X was rebranded from Multiexport Foods in September 2021, with the company’s executives using the occasion to emphasize the company’s growth plan with a commitment to sustainable development, innovation, and in defining products for different types of consumers around the world.

Photo courtesy of Mike Mareen/Shutterstoc

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