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27 July 2015

Benchmark makes strategic move into the tilapia genetics and breeding sector

Benchmark strengthened and diversified our Breeding & Genetics division today through the acquisition of Norwegian aquaculture genetics and research business Akvaforsk Genetics Center AS and American and Mexican tilapia company Spring Genetics.

Benchmark strengthened and diversified our Breeding & Genetics division today through the acquisition of Norwegian aquaculture genetics and research business Akvaforsk Genetics Center AS (AFGC) and American and Mexican tilapia primary breeding company Spring Genetics.

Expanding on our existing position as the second largest global player in salmon breeding and genetics. These acquisitions represent a long planned strategic move into aquaculture genetics across a wider number of the major farmed species, and into breeding in the fast growing tilapia sector.

Tilapia, predicted to be America’s next top seafood item, is easy to farm and feed and provides a healthy, nutritious and sustainable protein source for the world’s growing population. This is a major opportunity for us to influence the industry by offering our genetic expertise and leveraging our skills in animal health and husbandry to provide sustainable food chain solutions.

AFGC based in Sunndalsøra, western Norway, has a world-class aquaculture genetics and genomics team and is a leading provider of technical genetic consulting services. The team designs, implements and manages the technical operations of selective breeding programmes. AFGC has recently become a recognised research institute, securing two salmon research licences.

Spring Genetics has operations in Miami USA, Mazatlan, Veracruz and Tepic Mexico and Ceará Brazil. The company has built a strong team and brand in a rapidly growing market as one of only a handful of independent tilapia primary breeding companies. The company produces tilapia broodstock, larvae and fingerlings through selective breeding programmes and has developed its own tilapia strain, marketed under the brand Spring Tilapia®. The Spring Genetics team supplies hatcheries in the fast growing Americas market and the emerging European and African markets.

This deal is an opportunity for Benchmark to further advance its position in the aquaculture genetics and breeding sector. The acquisitions bolster our recognised status in the salmon genetics space, and moves Benchmark into the rapidly growing tilapia market.

MALCOLM PYE

BENCHMARK CEO

“The acquisitions of AFGC and Spring Genetics give Benchmark access to new geographies and customers in emerging markets, diversify our offering and fulfil Benchmark’s strategic objective of offering our expertise across a range of species within the aquaculture arena. The entrance of the Company into the tilapia market is particularly encouraging, as it is one of the fastest growing sources of protein in the Latin American region.”

“This is a very exciting time for the Company, with Benchmark’s Breeding & Genetics division going from strength to strength over the past year. We are now positioned as one of the leading global players in the aquaculture genetics sector, and we look forward to further growing this division of the business.”