Coronavirus Update

Benchmark Holdings Plc - Placing to raise £36.4 million and Open Offer to raise up to £6.6 million

This content has been sourced from: https://www.investegate.co.uk/benchmark-hlgs-plc/r...

Benchmark Holdings plc 

("Benchmark" or the "Company")

Placing to raise £36.4 million and Open Offer to raise up to £6.6 million (the "Fundraise")

and

Notice of General Meeting

Benchmark Holdings plc (LSE:BMK), the aquaculture health, nutrition and genetics business, announces that it has conditionally raised £36.4 million by way of a Placing at an Issue Price of 40p per Ordinary Share and intends to raise up to a further £6.6 million by way of an Open Offer to Qualifying Shareholders at an Issue Price of 40p per Ordinary Share.

Reasons for and benefits of the Fundraise

The Company has developed CleanTreat®, a proprietary system that removes medicinal residues from treatment water, and which is integral to the commercial delivery of product candidate BMK08, the Company's novel sea lice treatment for sea lice

The Directors strongly believe the Fundraise represents the optimal scale-up strategy for CleanTreat® ahead of the anticipated BMK08 regulatory approval by:

  • increasing its speed to market
  • delivering a higher expected return-on-investment
  • maximising value for Benchmark shareholders by retaining full ownership of CleanTreat®

The net proceeds from the Placing will be used as follows:

  • £19.0 million to fund the commercial development of Benchmark's CleanTreat® system to support the launch of BMK08; and
  • £16.0 million to provide additional working capital to fund the continuing business and strategy until the proceeds from the planned disposals (anticipated to amount to between £30 million and £35 million (before costs) in aggregate) are received. Capital will then be released to fund the Company's SPR shrimp roll-out and new species programmes

Summary of the Placing and Open Offer

The Fundraise is structured as a Placing to raise £36.4 million (£35.0 million net of expenses) and an Open Offer to Qualifying Shareholders to raise up to £6.6 million

The net proceeds of the proposed Open Offer of up to £6.6 million (before expenses) will be used to further support the Company's working capital requirements

The Issue Price of 40p per Ordinary Share represents a discount of 10.1% to the closing middle market price of 44.5p per Ordinary Share on 29 January 2020, being the last day prior to the date of this Announcement

Certain Directors of the Company have subscribed for Placing Shares in the Placing

The Fundraise is conditional upon, inter alia, shareholder approval which will be sought at the General Meeting of the Company to be held on 17 February 2020, notice of which will be contained in a Circular to be posted to shareholders later today

Numis is acting as Financial Adviser, Nominated Adviser and sole Broker in relation to the Fundraise

Peter George, Executive Chairman of Benchmark, commented:

"We are preparing to launch BMK08, our novel medicinal treatment to combat sea lice, one of the main biological challenges in salmon farming. This requires scaling up CleanTreat®, our proprietary system that removes medicinal residues from treatment water, and which is integral to the delivery of BMK08. Having reviewed a number of funding options, we strongly believe that an equity raise is the optimal funding strategy to deliver this scale."  

I am pleased that existing and new shareholders have placed their confidence in us to drive Benchmark to finally deliver on its enormous potential. The actions we will take in 2020 will deliver a profitable business, leading the future direction in key areas of sustainable Aquaculture."