Fish tanks at AquaBounty's RAS facility in Albany, Indiana, which is now being put up for sale.

AquaBounty puts Indiana salmon RAS on the market

Sale proceeds will be used to provide ‘needed liquidity’ for loss-making company

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North American land-based salmon farmer AquaBounty has put its recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in Albany, Indiana, up for sale to raise cash.

The RAS facility has an annual capacity for 1,200 tonnes of AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage salmon, which inherit a 30-year-old genetic modification from their male parent which enables them to grow from hatch to harvest in just 18 months.

AquaBounty is building a 10,000-tonne RAS facility in Pioneer, Ohio, but paused work last year due to rising costs which had increased to nearly $485 million - $495 million.

The company said today that it has been exploring a wide range of financing alternatives to strengthen its balance sheet and increase its cash position, and that selling the Indiana RAS was the first step in this process.

Achieved objective

“The Indiana land-based, recirculating aquaculture facility has been growing AquaBounty’s GE (genetically engineered) Atlantic salmon since 2019 and has succeeded in its objective to demonstrate the Company’s ability to grow and sell its salmon in the market,” AquaBounty said in a press release.

“With construction on its Ohio farm site roughly 30% completed, the Company plans to prioritise the financing alternatives necessary to resume and complete its construction, while the proceeds from the sale of its Indiana farm are expected to provide needed liquidity to AquaBounty’s balance sheet.”

File photo of AquaBounty's new salmon farm in Pioneer, Ohio, which the company says is 30% complete.

The fish farmer has engaged Berenson & Company as its investment bank to advise on the sale process for the Indiana farm and on additional financing alternatives.

“Making the decision to sell our Indiana farm was a difficult one for us,” said AquaBounty chief executive Sylvia Wulf. “We have built a strong operation there with a passionate and experienced team, and I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to our team members in Indiana for the job they have done over the last eight years to transform the facility and create a well-run operation. Our focus will be on harvesting the remaining GE Atlantic salmon for sale over the coming months to ready the farm for a new owner.

Additional funding

“We are proceeding to pursue additional funding across multiple financing alternatives with the goal of securing our cash requirements in the coming months.”

AquaBounty has consistently lost money and has said it must farm on a larger scale before it can turn a profit. The Ohio farm is the first of five that the company hopes to build in North America. It also has ambitions in other countries.

In the third quarter of 2023, AquaBounty reported a net loss of $6.1 million, an increase on the $5.4m lost in the same quarter the year before. In its Q3 report, published on November 7, AquaBounty said it had spent around $140m on the Ohio facility to date, and that as of September 30, 2023, its balance of cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash totalled $17.8 million, down from $102.6m on December 31, 2022.