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Coffin Bay oysters targeted in ASX takeover bid

Business

A Queensland fund manager has launched a $32 million takeover bid of listed Eyre Peninsula oyster company Angel Seafood.

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The Port Lincoln-headquartered company with oyster leases in Coffin Bay, Cowell and Streaky Bay has about 500 tonnes of oysters in the water and has been growing rapidly since launching a retail strategy last year.

The offer from agriculture fund manager Laguna Bay Group is an indicative, non-binding and conditional proposal that values Angel at $32 million.

Laguna and its entities already own 19.9 per cent of Angel and the offer aims to buy all of the remaining shares at $0.20, a 60 per cent premium to Angel’s closing share price of $0.125 on Friday that equated to a market capitalisation of $20.19 million.

Angel’s shares spiked almost 50 per cent this morning following the announcement, reaching $0.185 at 11am.

Brisbane-based Laguna Bay has indicated its strong preference that Angel’s founder and CEO Zac Halman retain a significant proportion of his shareholding.

Listing on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2018, Angel Seafood has grown from a family-operated South Australian business to the Southern Hemisphere’s largest sustainable and organic certified Pacific oyster producer.

In a statement to the ASX this morning, Angel said it had entered into an exclusivity deed with Laguna Bay to allow it to conduct due diligence on an exclusive basis until February 10.

“Following careful consideration and consultation with its advisers, the board of Angel considers that it is in the best interests of Angel’s shareholders to engage further with Laguna Bay,” the statement said.

“The board of Angel notes that there is no certainty that the indicative proposal will result in a binding offer or result in the entry into a scheme implementation agreement.”

Angel Seafood is one of Australia’s largest Pacific oyster producers and last year announced plans to increase production to 12 million oysters a year.

It reported record sales in September and October but saw its share price fall from $0.155 to $0.125 in the past month following a rise in vibrio parahaemolyticus (VP) associated with Coffin Bay oysters that shut down the SA industry for a month until last week.

The South Australian Oyster Growers Association said the shutdown and oyster recall would “likely to cost the industry millions of dollars”.

Angel reported record sales of $3.6 million for the six months to June 30 , helping it to a net profit after tax for the half of $489,000, up from a $160,000 loss last year.

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