Billionaire Andrew Forrest becomes stakeholder in company set on running Abrolhos Islands fish farm

Phoebe PinMidwest Times
Fortescue Metals chairman Andrew Forrest.
Camera IconFortescue Metals chairman Andrew Forrest. Credit: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

Iron ore miner Andrew Forrest has bought an almost $20 million stake in a Tasmania-based aquaculture company which plans to establish a 2200ha fish farm at the Abrolhos Islands.

The Forrest family’s holding company, Tattarang Agrifood, on Monday acquired a 7.33 per cent stake in Huon Aquaculture, which produced a $95.3 million loss for the six months to December last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company in February reported the start of the pandemic had coincided with a significant increase in production, the groundwork for which had been laid two years earlier.

The five-year capital investment program had been designed to modernise Huon’s infrastructure and increase production capacity to meet the expected growth in demand for the near future.

But the company said the impact on demand in the last quarter of FY2020 and FY2021 meant alternative markets had had to be found, with the excess supply creating significant downward pressure on the salmon price.

Huon also experienced two separate incidents in November involving damage to the netting of fish pens, leading to fish escapes costing the company an estimated $2m.

The company earlier this year announced it had appointed advisory firm Grant Samuel to undertake a strategic review of the business in light of poor performance during the pandemic.

Huon Aquaculture received a licence to operate commer-cial-scale farming in sea cages at the Abrolhos Islands in February.

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