December 01, 2003



Australia Tiger International Proposed Acquiring Prawn Farming Operation


Aquaculture group Tiger International Ltd is a step closer to becoming a big Australian black tiger prawn farmer following a successful trial in Western Australia.


Managing director John Hutton said the company was completing a successful semi-commercial hatchery trial at the Multi Species Hatchery (MSH) in Broome in a bid to be a major Australian producer of premium quality tiger prawns.


Tiger is completing due diligence on a proposed A$3.5 million (US$2.5 million) acquisition of the established Darwin-based prawn farming operation Aussie Prawn Farms Pty Ltd.


With a prawn farm in Darwin added to its existing Broome operations Tiger hopes to secure a significant strategic position in the multi-billion dollar international tiger prawn farming industry.


"The successful results from the semi-commercial hatchery trial in Broome confirm the key strategic advantages that Tiger International has as a new entrant to the international tiger prawn industry and represent a significant step forward for the Company," Mr Hutton said.


Mr Hutton said Tiger would conduct a full feasibility study on setting up a large-scale commercial tiger prawn production and export operation in northern Australia.


Its first production run is expected over the 2004 Christmas period.


Globally, the black tiger prawn industry is worth an estimated A$9 billion a year, with 50% of the value of farm gate production sourced from Thailand, followed by Vietnam and India.


Production of tiger prawns in Australia has grown by 60% over four years and is worth about A$70 million per annum.