Tassal acquires Barramundi Group’s farm in Australia

Barramundi Group fish farm.

Cooke-owned Tassal Group has acquired Barramundi Group’s Australian assets, including a barramundi farm in Cone Bay, Western Australia.

Tassal, based in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, is one of Australia’s largest seafood firms, with vertically integrated operations from farming through marketing and sales. It produces around 33,000 metric tons of salmon annually, grown in five different regions in sea-based pens, and branched into shrimp aquaculture with its purchase of Fortune Group in 2018. Tassal itself was acquired by Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, Canada-based Cooke Inc. in August 2022.

Barramundi Group, facing significant financial struggles, has been pursuing a sale of its loss-making assets in Australia for the past year. In May 2022, it said it hoped to raise up to AUD 350 million (USD 251.3 million, EUR 233.3 million at the time) for the first phase of an expansion that would include the pursuit of 13 new farming licenses off in the Kimberly region, off Western Australia’s Northern coast.

In May 2023, the company’s planned sale of its Australian holdings, in the form of MPA Fish Farms and MPA Marketing, fell through after the prospective buyer, Wild Ocean Australia, could not raise the necessary funds to complete the acquisition.

Barramundi Group completed an initial public offering in August 2021; It confirmed the sale to Tassal via a statement published via its listing on the Oslo Bors.

Barramundi Group, which is based in Singapore and which also operates barramundi farms in Singapore and Brunei, was hit with a board exodus on 12 May, 2023, and replaced its CEO in October 2022.

In a statement provided through Cooke, Tassal Managing Director and CEO Mark Ryan said his company was “delighted” to add ocean-farmed barramundi to its product portfolio.

“We are excited to bring world-class engineering, technology, innovative equipment, and 36 years' experience in aquaculture to operating this barramundi farm,” he said.

Ryan said Tassal will leverage its advantage of “excellent existing relationships with retailers across Australia to reinforce the reputation of West Australian barramundi as a premium product.”

“Tassal has turned around both the salmon and prawn industries in Australia before and has the skills and capabilities to apply the same learnings and intellectual capital to do this for the MPA companies and the wider barramundi industry in Australia,” Ryan said.

Ryan confirmed that Tassal-branded barramundi from the Cone Bay farm will become available for purchase beginning in November 2023. And he said the company will pursue growing its barramundi farming in the years to come.

“Once operations are consolidated, we will look at growth opportunities,” Ryan said. “This is a huge win for Northern Western Australia, and a win for local jobs and investment. At Tassal, we work in regional areas across the country and are committed to working closely with traditional owners and the local community.”

Photo courtesy of Barramundi Group


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