Abalone farmer cashed up for Asian expansion

Abalone farmer cashed up for Asian expansion

Wed, 15/11/2017 - 15:48

Most of Ocean Grown Abalone's catch is expected to be exported to Asia. Photo: OGA

Premium seafood exporter Ocean Grown Abalone has landed on the Australian Securities Exchange, after raising $10 million from investors to fund its expansion into lucrative Asian markets.

Ocean Grown Abalone’s shares began trading on November 14, and while the stock briefly rose to 29 cents, its shares closed trading on November 15 at 25 cents, equal to the issue price.

The funds raised from the IPO will go towards a two-year development and expansion program, designed to tap into growing demand for abalone from Asian markets.

Morgans Corporate acted as lead manager and underwriter to the raising, while Ocean Grown Abalone was advised by Cottesloe-based View Street Partners.

Managing director Brad Adams thanked investors for their support of the IPO, which closed early due to the high levels of demand.

“Listing the company on the ASX is a key milestone in unlocking many opportunities for OGA to expand our business and bring our unique produce to lucrative Asian markets where demand for the delicacy is strong,” Mr Adams said.

“With your support, the company is now well-funded and well-positioned to accelerate our expansion strategy and deliver value for our shareholders.”

Ocean Grown Abalone operates an abalone aquaculture business, farming the creatures in ocean waters in Flinders Bay, near Augusta in the South West.

The company also has approvals to operate a sea ranching project at Wylie Bay in Esperance, while it has been issued with research licenses and leases for a development project in Port Lincoln, South Australia.

Growing international demand, particularly from countries with significant Chinese populations, has resulted into the abalone aquaculture industry growing to be worth more than $28.5 million in 2015.

Australia exports more than 60 per cent of its abalone catch, mainly to Hong Kong, China and Japan.

However, much of the abalone grown in Australia is done so on land-based farms, with Ocean Grown Abalone the first to develop a large-scale sea ranching business worldwide.

The company harvested 17.2 tonnes of abalone from its Flinders Bay operation in the 2017 financial year, while in the period from July 1 to November 8 it has harvested 15.6 tonnes.