August 6, 2018 / 1:54 PM / 13 days ago

Chile's Agrosuper to buy salmon producer AquaChile for $850 million

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Agrosuper, one of Chile’s top food producers, said on Monday it would buy Chilean salmon company AquaChile for $850 million, the latest of several mergers and acquisitions in the South American nation’s consolidating salmon farming industry.

AquaChile, one of Chile’s largest salmon producers, had recently struck a $255 million deal to purchase two smaller Chilean fish farming operations, boosting the company’s access to the Magallanes region of Patagonia, a prime area of cold water ideal for salmon rearing.

Agrosuper on Monday said in a filing with financial regulators that it would purchase the stock at .73 dollar per share, an estimated 16 percent premium over AquaChile’s price at the close of trading on Friday, according to a Reuters calculation.

The transaction is still subject to approval by regulators, the filing said.

Several salmon producing companies in Chile have moved to consolidate in recent months as demand and prices for salmon have increased and Chilean operations recover from several years of devastating outbreaks of red tide and salmon-specific viruses.

In 2016, an outbreak of red tide in Chile killed millions of fish, devastating the world’s second biggest salmon exporter and resulting in losses upwards of $800 million. {nL1N1EF16B}

AquaChile last month had announced a plan to issue $340 million worth of shares on the Norwegian stock market to finance investment and acquisition goals.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood

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