Cooke Aquaculture buys Chilean plant from Marine Harvest
Cooke Aquaculture has purchased a processing plant and offices in Tepual, Chile formerly owned by Marine Harvest, expanding its reach into South America.
Cooke Aquaculture Vice President of Communications Nell Halse confirmed to SeafoodSource that Cooke Aquaculture Chile, formerly known as Salmones Cupquelan, lodged a successful bid for the facility, which was put up for sale by Marine Harvest in November. She said the transaction should close by early 2017.
“Once the agreement is finalized…we will take possession of the plant and will eventually move our offices to this facility. Detailed plans for use of the facility, including possible start-up dates, have not yet been finalized but we are putting together an experienced team to manage this project. We hope to be able to obtain all the necessary approvals from the authorities in a timely manner so that we can start creating jobs and hiring people early in 2017,” Halse said.
Cooke Aquaculture purchased Salmones Cupquelan in 2008 and operates salmon farms near Puerto Cisnes, Chile, employing around 270 workers. Halse said the total number of employees will increase as it brings the Tepual facility online, which will require the purchase and installation of processing equipment, work on the water treatment system, IT and communications systems and application and approval for necessary permitting and certifications required by the marketplace.
Cooke sees opportunity in growing “sustainable Chilean salmon farming sector with bes- in-class farming practices and fair and stable regulations,” Halse said.
“We have always been interested in integrating our aquaculture operations in Chile and have been seeking opportunities to develop our own processing capacity. Until now, we have relied upon third-party contractors to process our Chilean fish. We see this purchase as a very positive move for Cooke Aquaculture Chile and are pleased to be able to make this investment,” Halse said. “We are making significant investments in our Chilean operations because we plan to be part of a strong future for this region.”