Benchmark pursues an independent strategy in Chile
The company announced the dissolution of its joint venture with AquaChile and the opportunity it had to control the salmon breeding operation in Chile and pursue an independent strategy.
Benchmark and AquaChile announced their joint venture dissolution agreement. Benchmark Genetics, under the joint venture with AquaChile, has been successful in accelerating its entry into the Chilean market as a local player with the launch of Benchmark Genetics Chile in October 2018, and the establishment of its genetics program locally, creating a strong platform for growth.
In January 2019, Agrosuper completed the acquisition of AquaChile. As a result, Benchmark had the opportunity to take control of the salmon breeding operation in Chile, which is currently owned by the joint venture, and to pursue an independent strategy.
Benchmark received its $16.25 million original investment in the joint venture. As part of this agreement, Benchmark completed the transfer of ownership of the Ensenada facility which gives Benchmark control of the salmon breeding operation previously belonging to the joint venture. Benchmark has received the IP rights, genetics stock and biomass in the joint venture.
The Ensenada facility is a highly bio-secure hatchery situated in the Los Lagos region in Chile with good access to spring water required for the production of high-quality eyed-eggs suitable for the Chilean industry. The Ensenada facility is being made suitable for maturation of broodstock, spawning and fertilization of eggs, and it is expected that the first eggs from the new facility will be available in H1 2021.
Chile is the world's second largest salmon producing country and is an important market in Benchmark's long-term strategy. The company remains focused on achieving full scale production at this bio-secure, land-based facility.