Benchmark settles joint AquaChile venture breakup

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In June, UK genetics company Benchmark announced that it had completed the dissolution of its ova factory partnership with Chilean salmon farmer.

In a press release on Monday, Benchmark writes that it will receive USD 8.75m from AquaChile, representing the second and final payment under the joint venture dissolution agreement.

Benchmark Genetics Chile’s ownership was split 51 per cent AquaChile and 49 per cent Benchmark. The aim of the venture was to produce ova at the former Salmones Chaicas facility, acquired by AquaChile in 2017 (now owned by Agrosuper) . It dissolved the venture in June.

As part of the agreement, Benchmark has completed the transfer of ownership of the Ensenada facility, which gives it control of the salmon breeding operation previously belonging to the joint venture. It has also received the joint venture’s IP rights, genetics stock and biomass.

The Ensenada facility is a highly bio-secure hatchery situated in the salmon farming rich Los Lagos region in Chile. Benchmark wrote that the site is being adapted to be suitable for the maturation of broodstock, spawning and fertilisation 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. We remain focused on achieving full scale production at this bio-secure, land-based facility,” it wrote.