- Benchmark Holdings has entered into a technology transfer agreement under which its wholly-owned subsidiary, Genetica Spring SAS, will secure control over aquaculture breeding programmes previously owned and operated by Centro de Investigacion de la Acuicultura de Colombia Ceniacua and acquire related business, freehold land, buildings and assets, for $2.17m.

Completion of the transaction is conditional upon certain legal formalities and is expected to occur before the end of August. The acquisition adds a third species, shrimp, to Benchmark's aquaculture breeding business in salmon and tilapia, and strengthens Benchmark's position in the fast-growing shrimp industry.

Benchmark has a unique opportunity to utilise the global distribution channels within its Advanced Animal Nutrition division (INVE Aquaculture), which will provide routes to market for its shrimp genetics and offer opportunities for cross-selling. The acquired business, headquartered in Punta Canoa, near Cartagena in Colombia, operates breeding programmes for the species (L. vannamei) dominating the global shrimp sector, as well as for the marine finfish species cobia and grouper.

The advanced shrimp selection programme has been particularly successful, and has bred populations with high level of resistance to certain of the major diseases affecting the shrimp industry worldwide.

It is estimated that up to 40% of tropical shrimp production (>$3bn) is lost annually to disease, and according to the World Bank, production of farmed shrimp is expected to grow by 50 to 60% through to 2030

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