Travers Smith LLP has acted for international animal health and biotechnology business Benchmark Holdings plc on the £227 million acquisition of INVE Aquaculture Holding, a leading specialist manufacturer of aquaculture and nutrition health products. The firm has also advised on the associated equity fundraising, debt financing and employee incentives arrangements.
Approximately £199 million of the total consideration will be payable in cash and £28 million will be satisfied through the issue of new shares in Benchmark. The cash consideration is being financed by a placing of new shares to new and existing institutional investors raising approximately £185.7 million. The balance will be satisfied through debt funding to be drawn under new facilities provided by HSBC Bank plc and Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. Following the acquisition, INVE management will invest significantly in Benchmark shares.
The combination of Benchmark and INVE will create a global leader in aquaculture technology. Aquaculture is a multi-billion dollar sector and one of the fastest growing markets in the world. Following the acquisition the enlarged group will serve customers in more than 70 countries across six continents and become "one-stop-shop” provider of technology, products and services for the industry.
Travers Smith’s multi-disciplinary team was led by corporate partner Anthony Foster who was supported by corporate associates Jamie Lumsden and Ben Lowen. Finance partner Donald Lowe and associate Matt Smith advised on the debt financing aspects of the transaction. Tax advice was provided by partner Jessica Kemp and associate Silvana Van der Velde. Advice on the new employee incentive arrangement was given by partner Mahesh Varia and associate Claire Prentice.
DLA acted as legal advisers to INVE.
Benchmark is a long standing client of Travers Smith. In November 2014, the firm represented Benchmark on its £70m fundraising and acquisitions of SalmoBreed and StofnFiskur. The firm also acted for the company on its AIM IPO, in December 2013. Both transactions were led by Anthony Foster.