West Australian prawn fisher and seafood trader Mareterram’s biggest shareholder, South Africa’s Sea Harvest, is seeking to gain control of the company.
Sea Harvest, which already owns 19.9 per cent, wants Mareterram shareholders to sell half of their shareholding for 35 cents per share.
Mareterram shareholders who accept the Sea Harvest offer will keep half their shares to participate in any future growth.
The Sea Harvest offer is conditional upon Sea Harvest achieving a 50.1 per cent holding in Mareterram shares.
The offer values Mareterram at $47.2 million.
If all Mareterram shareholders accept the Sea Harvest offer, Sea Harvest’s stake in Mareterram will rise to a maximum of about 59.6 per cent for a total cash payment of about $19.7 million.
Mareterram has recommended that shareholders accept Sea Harvest’s offer in the absence of a superior proposal, with the company’s directors and four major shareholders intending to accept.
“This is an outstanding result for Mareterram and its shareholders,” Mareterram managing director David Lock said on Friday.
“To be more closely aligned with a high-quality company with the fishing industry expertise and experience of Sea Harvest is an exciting and significant development for our growing company.”
Sea Harvest chief executive Felix Ratheb said his company had confidence in Mareterram and believed that lifting the shareholding would help Mareterram grow and diversify.
Mareterram holds 10 prawn fishing licences for Western Australia’s Shark Bay and operates 10 trawlers based at Carnarvon, targeting king and tiger prawns.
The company also operates a food services division that imports frozen seafood and potato products, which it sells to national supermarkets and other customers.
Mareterram started trading on the Australian share market in early January 2016 after a backdoor listing through bamboo flooring firm Style Limited.
Cape Town-based Sea Harvest is one of the largest fishing companies in South Africa, owning 12 deep-sea trawlers and three processing plants.
Mareterram shares gained three cents to 35 cents.