Canadian fish farmer Cooke Aquaculture is making a new attempt to buy into the Australian salmon sector.

Working through its parent company, Cooke Inc, it has made a non-binding offer for the Tasmania-based salmon producer, the Tassal Group, which has been rejected.

The offer, for 100% of Tassal shares, is estimated to be worth around AUS $1bn (£566m).

A Tassal statement issued on Tuesday 28 June said: “The company’s board has evaluated the indicative proposal with the assistance of its financial adviser and has decided that the indicative proposal does not reflect the fundamental value of the business and is not in the best interests of the shareholders. Consequently, the company’s board has decided not to engage with Cooke regarding the indicative proposal.”

Earlier Cooke acquired a 5.4% stake in the Tassal Group, paying AUS $41m (£23.2m) for the purchase.

Last year it tried unsuccessfully to buy into Huon Aquaculture, also based in Tasmania. Huon was eventually acquired by the Brazilian meat giant JBS.

Tassal produces about 40,000 tonnes of salmon a year and is planning to expand into shrimp farming at some point. It has annual revenues of around AUS $594m (£336.4m) and last year made a net profit of AUS $34m (£19.3m).

The company started 35 years ago, almost around the same time as Cooke Aquaculture was launched several thousand miles away.

It is now Australia’s largest producer of Tasmanian-grown Atlantic salmon, with a strong focus on quality and sustainability. It is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Cooke Aquaculture remains a strong family-owned business but has grown into one of the giants in fish farming with an annual turnover of CAN $2bn (£1.27bn).

The group employs 10,000 people worldwide and operates in Chile, Canada and Scotland where it is big in the production of organic salmon. It also has shrimp farming interests in Central America.

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