Barramundi Group appoints administrators for Australian division
Fish farmer looking to restructure subsidiary after sell-off plan fails
Barramundi Group, which farms fish in Australia, Singapore, and Brunei, has appointed administrators for its Australian business after a deal to sell the operation fell through.
In February, Barramundi Group announced that it had signed an agreement to sell 75% of its northwest Australia subsidiary, Marine Produce Australia (MPA), to Northern Territories seafood producer, processor, and distributor Wild Ocean Australia.
Under the agreement, Barramundi Group’s 34% stake in Wild Ocean Australia would have allowed it to retain an effective 50.5% economic interest in MPA.
Today, Barramundi Group said that the transaction has not been finalised, as the buyer has not been able to attract the necessary funding, and that MPA will now undergo reconstruction.
“Rob Kirman and Rob Brauer of McGrathNicol were appointed as Voluntary Administrators of MPA and its two subsidiaries, MPA Fish Farms Pty Ltd and MPA Marketing Pty Ltd (“MPA Group”) on 24 May 2023, by its directors pursuant to Section 436A of the Corporations Act 2001 (‘Act’),” stated Barramundi Group in a market announcement.
“The Administrators are currently making an assessment of the MPA Group’s position with a view to undertaking a restructure or recapitalisation of the MPA Group in line with the objectives of the Voluntary Administration provisions of the Act. The Administrators, with the support from the MPA Group’s management, intend to continue to operate the MPA Group on a ‘business as usual’ basis while exploring options for a sale and/or recapitalisation of the MPA Group.”
Barramundi Group said its Singapore and Brunei operations are unaffected.
In need of funding
The fish farmer currently produces around 2,000 tonnes of barramundi (Lates calcarifer), per year, 1,600 tonnes of which comes from Australia. It is aiming for an annual volume of 7,000 tonnes by 2026.
Singapore-headquartered Barramundi Group put MPA up for sale in the second half of 2022 after failing to find a strategic partner to fund expansion plans in Australia. MPA wants to increase production to 10,000 tonnes, and then 30,000 tonnes.
It has applied for 13 sites spread across the Buccaneer Archipelago but needs both permits and funding, with the first phase expansion requiring a capital expenditure investment of around A$110 million (£64.7 m).