Andrew Forrest in last-ditch effort to influence JBS takeover of Huon

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Without a commitment by JBS to “no pain, no fear”, Andrew Forrest says he will vote his 18.5 per cent stake in against the Huon buyout by the Brazilian meat producer. 

Mining billionaire Andrew Forrest has indicated he won’t change his tune on the prospective takeover of salmon farmer Huon Aquaculture by Brazilian meat giant JBS, unless it commits to higher animal welfare standards.

According to the Australian Financial Review, Forrest has, in a last-ditch effort to rattle the deal ahead of a shareholder vote on Friday, called on JBS to adopt the same “no pain, no fear” principles used at the agriculture investments his private company Tattarang owns.

Read more: Australia’s FIRB approves JBS purchase of salmon producer Huon

Without such a commitment, Forrest says he will vote his 18.5 per cent stake in Huon against the buyout.

Even if Forrest opposes the $425 million acquisition at an investor meeting scheduled for Friday, he is unlikely to be able to kill the deal because JBS is running a parallel off-market bid that requires just 50.1 per cent of shareholders to approve the takeover.

“I didn’t invest in Huon to create a rival takeover proposition. I invested in Huon because I believed they wanted to be leaders in truly sustainable salmon farming,” Forrest said in a statement.

“Through our investments we have put an immovable spotlight on the true, long-term sustainability of the Tasmanian salmon industry and the [no pain, no fear] management of animal to protein by multinationals.”

JBS Australia chief executive Brent Eastwood said it had previously stated its support for “no pain, no fear”, and that the parent company had committed to the “five freedoms” of animal welfare. The “five freedoms” include clauses that outline an animal should be free of fear and of pain.

“This commitment extends to Huon, where JBS intends to build on the company’s strong foundations and uphold the highest standards of fish health and sustainable farming practices, from water management to animal welfare, net zero emissions and stocking densities,” Eastwood said.