HALIFAX, N.S. — Clearwater Seafoods has agreed to acquire Macduff Shellfish Group Ltd., the United Kingdom’s leading vertically integrated shellfish company, for £98.4 million ($150.7 million), which includes a purchase price of £94.4 million plus approximately £4 million in seasonal working capital debt agreed with existing owners, the Beaton Family and Change Capital Partners.
As one of North America’s largest vertically integrated seafood companies, Clearwater specializes in the delivery of premium wild, eco-certified seafood, including scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, crab and groundfish. The acquisition is expected to expand Clearwater’s supply of premium seafood by 20%, or approximately 15 million lbs of shellfish, including scallops, langoustine, whelk and crab. The deal also provides Clearwater access to key distribution channels, including food service and grocery retail, in the U.K., Italy, Spain and Portugal.
“The acquisition of Macduff brings together two of the world’s leading and fastest growing vertically integrated wild shellfish harvesters,” said Ian Smith, chief executive officer of Clearwater Seafoods. “The transaction will allow Clearwater to integrate its vessel management and sustainable harvesting practices, innovative processing technologies along with its global sales, marketing and distribution footprint into Macduff; a company that already possesses a talented local management team, excellent resource assets and a strong presence in the E.U., the world’s largest and most valuable seafood market.
“Our companies have been building a working relationship for more than three years, and we are confident Macduff represents a highly attractive investment with a strong strategic fit for Clearwater.”
The deal is expected to close Oct. 30 and will be accretive to earnings in 2016. For the year ended Sept. 30, MacDuff had projected sales of approximately £52 million ($79.6 million) and £9.2 million of adjusted EBITDA projected to grow by 25% to £11.5 million in 2016 from a recent investment in complementary shellfish species.
"Having reached our goal of building a £52 million business, we had one suitor in mind which shares our vision and values to enable us to accelerate our growth on a global scale,” said Euan Beaton, president of Macduff Shellfish Group. “With a similar vertically integrated business model, sustainability at its heart, sound employee practices and strong relationships with fishermen but operating on a much bigger scale, Clearwater is an ideal fit for Macduff.“This deal is great news for our operations in the U.K., bringing investment and access to new markets within an extremely successful and respected business. It provides learning and development opportunities for our staff as we share best practice with Clearwater and it gives fishermen access to more markets.”