Shareholders back JBS takeover of Aussie salmon farmer Huon

Shareholders in Huon Aquaculture have overwhelmingly approved a A$425 million (£233m) takeover of the Tasmanian salmon farmer by Brazilian meat processing giant JBS. A total of 99.8% approved the A$3.85-per-share offer in a vote earlier today.

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Australian iron ore billionaire Andrew Forrest, who holds an 18.5% stake in Huon, had threatened to vote against the deal unless it committed to higher welfare principles but backed it after JBS reiterated an existing commitment to “no pain, no fear” farming practices.

Huon chairman Neil Kearney said: “Today’s overwhelming shareholder support for the JBS transaction will secure the future of Huon, the company’s dedicated workforce and the hundreds of Tasmanian businesses that work with us.

“Not only is it a great outcome for shareholders, it’s the right outcome for the business. We are delighted that shareholders have endorsed the proposed transaction and we look forward to working closely with JBS on the ownership transition.”

Earnings hit by Covid

The takeover has already been given the green light by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).

Huon announced in August that it had made a statutory loss of A$128 million (£67.6m) for the 12 months ended 30 June 2021.

Despite a 24% increase in revenue to $426.4m on the strength of a 39% increase in harvest tonnage, earnings were significantly impacted by Covid-19.