A Ventisqueros farm site. Huon Aquaculture owner JBS is a favourite to buy the company.

Several suitors for Ventisqueros

Talks to buy the Chilean Atlantic and coho salmon farmer started more than a month ago, with the Dutch bank Rabobank as intermediary. The Brazilian group JBS is leading the race.


Gilberto Tomazoni, the chief executive of the world’s largest meat processor, JBS, made no secret of the company’s ambition when it Tasmanian salmon farmer Huon Aquaculture for £233 million in late 2021.

“Our goal is to become at least one of the world's three largest salmon producers,” he said. He added that the most attractive assets to grow in this segment were in Norway, Chile, Canada and Scotland and a little over a month ago they began negotiating the purchase of Ventisqueros, according to what was published by Santiago-based news website La Tercera.

Ventisqueros, which produces around 40,000 tonnes of Atlantic and coho salmon, belongs to family-owned German property and industrial group Schörghuber, which put it on the market late last year, sources familiar with the talks told La Tercera.


Dutch bank Rabobank has been mandated to act as intermediary and has already had a first round of talks with the most enthusiastic stakeholders: local and foreign investors, but JBS is understood to have made the best offer.

JBS factfile

JBS is a food giant with operations in Brazil, the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Puerto Rico, and Australia. In 2021, it made profits of US$4.181 billion. It is controlled by the Batista family, whose origins are in the centre west of Brazil in Anápolis, in a small butcher's shop founded by José Batista Sobrinho with the initials of his name, JBS.

Market agents assured La Tercera that Ventisqueros is a profitable and scalable operation that was probably put up for sale to take advantage of the current good prices in the sector, driven by incessant global demand.

The sale follows the trend of large global players seeking entry into the Chilean industry in recent years. In 2019, the Chinese company Joyvio, through a subsidiary, bought 100% of the shares of Australis Seafoods for US $921 million.

In May 2022, global food and agriculture giant Cargill, bought a 24.5% stake in the country’s second largest salmon farmer, Multi X. The transaction valued Multi X at more than US $1 billion.

$160m revenue in 2021

Ventisqueros is the flagship of Schörghuber’s seafood business, and generated revenue of $160 m and profits of $8 m from sales of 35,582 tonnes of salmon in 2021, despite the negative effects of lower sales caused by an algal bloom.

Although the value of the operation is unknown, in the market it is estimated that it would exceed $300 million.

According to La Tercera, Rabobank has received interest from various buyers, such as an investment fund, Chinese investors, local salmon farmers, and JBS.

At the end of 2020, Ventisqueros signed a loan with the Rabobank and DNB banks for up to $120 m to increase its production to 60,000 tonnes of salmon per year.

Last year, the firm invested $25.3 m to improve its production standards to reduce its environmental impact. Its main markets are the United States, Russia, China, Japan, and Brazil.