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Seafarms Group raises $90m

29/06/21 - Aquaculture company Seafarms Group has raised $90 million and is seeking to raise $15 million more to start construction of its black tiger prawn operation, Project Sea Dragon with WA's Exmouth playing an important role in the project.

Project Sea Dragon is a staged development comprising of up to 10,000 hectares of prawn production ponds, which will cultivate prawns year-round for domestic and export markets.

The project, in the Northern Territory, is supported by a series of facilities in northern Australia, with a quarantine and founder stock centre at Exmouth and a processing plant in Kununurra.

The money from the raising will be used to construct 24 nursery ponds, 20 grow-out ponds, seawater intake earthworks and internal roads. Funds will also go towards expanding the Exmouth Founder Stock Centre, and establishing infrastructure to enable breeding of the domesticated population.

Stage 1a of the project is designed to produce 6,000 tonnes of premium black tiger prawns within the first 12 months of operation.

Products to domestic and export markets are expected in the third quarter of 2023 and the first full harvest is planned for the fourth quarter of 2024.

The placement, undertaken by Bell Potter Securities as lead manager, involves issuing 1,636 million new shares at 5.5 cents.

The group is seeking to raise the additional $15 million through a share purchase plan.

Seafarms Group executive chair Ian Trahar said the company was at the beginnings of creating an industrial-scale food production business.

“The genetics we have spent many years developing will results in a product with true premium characteristics both in terms of size and price,” he said.

“This capital raising will transform Seafarms towards a potential multinational business and accordingly the board has resolved to refresh the organisation with priority at management level and board level to enable the best delivery of the PSD potential for all shareholders.”

Mr Trahar will subscribe for $20 milion under the placement and has agreed to covert $15.2 million of existing debt into equity.

“My endorsement and belief in the ultimate success of PSD [Project Sea Dragon] has been consolidated through my strong participation in the current capital alongside the owners of Legune Station and strong support from a number of other long-term existing shareholders," he said.

In May, Seafarms Group awarded Queensland-based construction group Canstruct five contracts valued at $78 million in total to begin work on the grow-out facility at Legune Station.

Seafarms Group remained in a trading halt at 12pm AWST.



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