SANTIAGO, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Chile’s largest salmon producer AquaChile said on Thursday it has agreed to purchase a controlling stake in rival Invermar, a step toward further consolidation in the world’s No. 2 salmon exporting market.
AquaChile said it would seek to strike a deal with Invermar’s creditors to gain a controlling stake and it would pursue a capital increase of $30 million for the purchase.
Invermar’s shares surged 25 percent on the Santiago Stock Exchange.
Fish farming stocks have been in high demand this year as global demand for salmon, perceived as a healthier protein alternative to meat, outpaces production.
That has spurred some consolidation in the fragmented Chilean sector. Last month, Norway’s Marine Harvest bought up the assets of a bankrupt Chilean company for $120 million, while Mitsubishi Corp offered $1.4 billion for Cermaq .
Cermaq has significant operations in Chile, and analysts saw the buy as a stepping stone to further consolidation. (Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by David Gregorio)