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Was 2018 the biggest year yet for seafood M&A deals?

Finally it seems consolidation in the seafood sector is really picking up the pace.

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Summarizing the merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the seafood sector back in 2015, IntraFish Editorial Director Drew Cherry floated the idea it was one of the busiest years yet – but with a listing of around 40 deals back then, I think 2018 has well and truly surpassed it.

However you look at it, this year has been a very, very busy one on the M&A front.

Scouring through our archives I counted around 62 M&A deals of all shapes and sizes. Some small, but also some of which will likely change the face of the seafood landscape permanently.

Think Chinese company Joyvio Group's $880 million deal for Chile’s Australis for one; or Agrosuper's deal to buy Aquachile and become the world's second largest salmon producer; or Amerra's acquisition of Selonda and Nireus in Greece, which combined with Andromeda creates a bass and bream behemoth.

Iceland Seafood International (ISI) was pretty acquisitive during the year too, moving into salmon and becoming a quota holder, as were a number of Dutch companies.

With a count of more than 60 deals, you can average it out to just more than one a week, and the year’s not even over yet; a few others could likely come through by January.

To refresh your memory, I’ve compiled a handy list below of the most notable deals.

January

  1. Vicuinai acquires French distribution group CSF France
  2. Rokke's Aker BioMarine acquires krill processing firm
  3. Private equity firm buys Mexico bass farmer Pacifico

February

  1. Dutch giant P&P acquires Deutsche See
  2. Norwegian longline groups Carisma, Ervik Havfiske merge operations

March

  1. Iceland Seafood International (ISI) acquires Irish fresh seafood group Oceanpath.
  2. H&N Group acquires New Jersey shrimp importer Network Commodities
  3. Cornelis Vrolijk completes its acquisition of a majority shareholding in neighboring fish processing company Bertus-Dekker Seafood.
  4. Iberconsa closed a deal to acquire a majority stake in Argentinean shrimp firm Pesquera Santa Cruz.
  5. Florida's Bonamar acquires International Pacific Seafood
  6. AquaStar acquires equity stake in India shrimp producer
  7. Gael Force Group acquires a majority 75 percent stake in fish farm pen manufacturer Fusion Marine
  8. Former Oceana CEO Kuttel buys Westbank for $31.5 million
  9. Spanish PE firm snaps up Mercadona seafood supplier for €80 million
  10. Nordic PE firm snaps up majority stake in Morenot
  11. Aqualande acquires Spain's leading trout producer, Piszolla.
  12. Norwegian salmon farmer Eide Fjordbruk is acquires 70 percent of the shares in smolt producer Lialaks from Erko Seafood

April

  1. Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF) acquired 40 percent of the shares in Camanor Produtos Marinhos, one of the leading shrimp producers in Brazil.
  2. Santa Monica closes Seattle Fish Company of New Mexico acquisition
  3. SalMar acquires 51% stake in offshore farming tech company Mariculture
  4. UK conveyor belt sushi chain Yo! Sushi acquires London-based Waitrose sushi supplier Taiko Foods.

May

  1. Faroese salmon company Bakkafrost acquires US East Coast salmon importer North Landing
  2. South African government OKs Premier acquisition of Talhado Fishing Group
  3. Thai Union unveils plans to acquire 45% stake in Russia's largest tuna canner
  4. Akva Group to acquire Egersund Net in major aquaculture equipment tie-up

June

  1. Sea Harvest finalizes deal to acquire Viking Fishing
  2. AquaChile acquires Salmones Magallanes, Pesquera Eden
  3. Los Fiordos makes offer to acquire the operations of Salmones Friosur, Piscicola Hornopiren and Salmones Frioaysen for around $229 million
  4. Thai Union steps into retail with stake in Thai importer
  5. Klaas Puul, Foppen merge and form new company - 'Dutch Seafood Company.'
  6. Amerra Capital snaps up Greek bass and bream giants Selonda and Nireus, combing with Andromeda to create a giant in the sector
  7. Benchmark and AquaChile form breeding and genetics JV
  8. Corbion buys out partner in Brazil JV
  9. Seattle-based investment firm Joshua Green Corporation acquired a majority stake in Bellingham Cold Storage
  10. France-based AMP Saumon de France acquires two separate fish farming businesses

July

  1. Icelandic fishing company Samherji closed the acquisition of UK whitefish distributor Collins Seafood
  2. Marine Harvest completes Northern Harvest acquisition
  3. Spanish seafood processor Angulas Aguinaga acquires octopus producer Viveros Merimar.
  4. Feed giant Gold Coin sold for $412.5 million
  5. Chinese fishing company Shanghai Kaichuang International Marine Resources acquires 100 percent of Canadian seafood processor and exporter French Creek Seafood.
  6. Nueva Pescanova acquires South African importer Unick Fish
  7. Iceland's Marel acquires German food processing equipment firm

August

  1. Chilean agro-giant Empresas Agrosuper -- the owner of salmon farmer Los Fiordos -- agreed to buy 100 percent of AquaChile in a deal worth $850 million (€736 million)
  2. Iceland Seafood International (ISI) finalizes acquisition of Solo Seafood, the sole owner of Icelandic Iberica
  3. Bidvest Namibia sells its fishing division -- BidFish -- to Tunacor for an unknown amount.
  4. Cornelis Vrolijk snaps up controlling stake in Dutch shrimp processor
  5. Estonian firm PR Foods snatches final stake in UK salmon smoker John Ross Jr
  6. Tyson closes $2.16 billion deal for McDonald's fish supplier Keystone.
  7. Bonamar acquires US shrimp supplier IMS
  8. Blumar buys up remaining 40% in Chilean fishmeal, oil producer

September

  1. Tassal completes $23 million shrimp acquisition
  2. Private equity fund Antin Infrastructure Partners is buys majority stake in Norwegian wellboat company Solvtrans from Oaktree Capital Management.
  3. Nueva Pescanova offloads Ecuadorian shrimp feed producer to Neovia.

October

  1. Conagra Brands completes its $10.9 billion (€8.6 billion) acquisition of Van De Kamp's and Mrs. Paul's owner Pinnacle Foods.
  2. Van der Zwan snaps up majority stake in Ekofish
  3. Dutch feed producer Royal De Heus Grouo acquires Indonesian group
  4. P&P signs JV with Dutch pre-packed seafood group Profish

November

  1. China's Joyvio Group, subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate Legend Holdings Corporation, put in an offer to buy 100 percent of the shares of Chile's Australis Seafoods for a price of $880 million.
  2. Permira acquires 50 percent of Grobest Group
  3. Competition Authority greenlights HB Grandi, Ogurvik deal
  4. Anova, Seafood Connection strike deal to transfer frozen operations

December

  1. Insect meal producer AgriProtein buys rival fly-feed producer

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But 2018 isn’t over just yet and we could easily still see a few more deals squeezed in before the New Year.

In particular it is worth keeping an eye out for news on Young's Seafood's expected sale to CapVest; Portobello’s sale of its stake in Iberconsa, and on Cooke’s expected purchase of Seajoy, all of which are imminent.

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