Albany, IN (PRWEB) January 8, 2009
Bell Aquaculture, owner and operator of the nation's largest yellow perch (Perca flavescens) farm, has retained SDR Ventures, Inc., a Denver-based investment bank to raise $15 million of equity capital. The announcement is made by Michael Miller, Bell Aquaculture President & COO, who says this equity raise is the first step in scaling the yellow perch farm from a current annual production level of 208,000 pounds of fillets per year to 8.5 million pounds of fillets per year by 2015.
"Rarely do you see a young company with the focus, commitment and vision exhibited by Bell Aquaculture," Chris Bouck, SDR Ventures founder, says. "Through significant capital investment and partnerships with the leading minds in the industry, Bell Aquaculture has perfected the model for a profitable, large-scale indoor water-recirculating aquaculture farm. We look forward to securing the capital, and more importantly, linking Bell Aquaculture with a financial partner, or partners, that share the Company's vision and commitment."
The additional equity capital will augment the nearly $50 million capital investment made to-date, including $25 million of Founder capital and $25 million of sale-leaseback financing for construction and capital improvements. The new capital will accelerate the Company's production of yellow perch: a fish species with a strong regional demand and dwindling wild-caught supply. Bell Aquaculture's clean technology offers a renewable food source that that will combat the recent and significant decline in commercially caught supply of yellow perch.
"Successful completion of our equity raise offers many benefits, including creation of potentially 197 new jobs at full buildout in the area and assurance of a continuously available supply of yellow perch. Our goal is to increase the popularity of this fish nationwide, and surpass the supply of commercially caught yellow perch," Miller explains.
Bell Aquaculture's equity raise announcement comes as the company is nearing completion of its 28,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and processing facilities in Redkey, IN, about five miles from the production facility in Albany. Last month, the Purdue University Department of Agricultural announced that fish would be returning to its Alumni Fish Fry on February 7 after a 10-year absence, and that specifically the fish will be Indiana-raised Bell Perch™ yellow perch from Bell Aquaculture, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Alliance.
"The greatest difficulty for restaurants has been the availability of yellow perch out of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie - the two predominant lakes for the supply of wild-caught yellow perch," explains Miller during an interview on WTRC NewsRadio 1340/Elkhart last year. "Which means the restaurants that were typically serving customers who enjoy the taste of yellow perch, just cannot get the supply."
Further, Miller said: "The yellow perch that we're raising, the Bell Perch™, is a higher quality product from the standpoint that there is no real possibility of contaminants entering into their food chain during their growth. We have absolute control over our water supply, since they are raised in-house there is no opportunity for bird predation, pesticides or herbicides to get into the flesh of the fish that you and I might sit down to eat."
Yellow perch is one of the most popular of all North American pan fish. It has a mild, sweet flavor with firm white flesh and low fat levels, making it a favorite in residential and commercial kitchens alike. In years past, yellow perch was the fish typically served at Friday night fish fries in the Great Lakes region.
Bell Aquaculture is committed to these four guiding principles in producing its fish:
1) Controlled environment
2) No toxins
3) Healthy growth
4) Gentle to the environment
About Bell Aquaculture
Bell Aquaculture is a producer and processor of farm-raised fish for restaurants and consumer use. Initial production facilities, dedicated to yellow perch, are located in Albany, IN, and comprise the nation's largest yellow perch farm. More information about Bell Aquaculture is available at http://www.bellaquaculture.com
About SDR Ventures
SDR Ventures, Inc. is a Colorado-based investment bank specializing in mergers and acquisitions, private placements of capital and strategic advisory services for the privately-held marketplace. Based in Denver, SDR has transaction and funding experience with lower middle-market companies in the Manufacturing, Business Services and Distribution industries. For more information, visit http://www.sdrventures.com.
Jodi Bertram, Realistic Marketing, 913-484-7361
Maggie Holben, Absolutely PR, http://www.absolutelypr.com, 303-984-9801,
Chris Bouck, SDR Ventures, Inc, 720-221-9220