Benchmark, Sheffield aquaculture firm, raises £43m

Sheffield-based Benchmark Holdings, the aquaculture health, genetics and nutrition firm, said on Thursday it conditionally raised £36.4 million in a share placing at 40p per share and intends to raise up to a further £6.6 million via an open offer to qualifying shareholders at 40p.

Benchmark executive chairman Peter George said: “We are preparing to launch BMK08, our novel medicinal treatment to combat sea lice, one of the main biological challenges in salmon farming.

“This requires scaling up CleanTreat, our proprietary system that removes medicinal residues from treatment water, and which is integral to the delivery of BMK08.

“Having reviewed a number of funding options, we strongly believe that an equity raise is the optimal funding strategy to deliver this scale.

“I am pleased that existing and new shareholders have placed their confidence in us to drive Benchmark to finally deliver on its enormous potential.

“The actions we will take in 2020 will deliver a profitable business, leading the future direction in key areas of sustainable aquaculture.”

According to the company’s website, 49.42% of Benchmark’s shares are not in public hands.

Benchmark’s major shareholders include Norway-based firms Ferd AS and Kverva Finans AS with 25.98% and 14,14% respectively as well as Lansdowne Partners with 9.23%.