Clearwater Seafood reaches across Atlantic to buy Macduff Shellfish for $195 M

HALIFAX – The chief executive officer of Clearwater Seafoods says a deal to buy Macduff Shellfish Group for the equivalent of C$195 million will be “transformational” for the Nova Scotia-based company, strengthening its global market position and increasing its supply.

Ian Smith said Clearwater and the U.K.-based Macduff have been building a working relationship for more than three years and he’s confident Macduff is a good fit.

“This material and transformational acquisition brings together two of the world’s leading and fastest-growing vertically integrated shellfish harvesters under one company,” Smith said in a telephone conference Friday with analysts and investors.

“This move strengthens our leading global market position and provides us the opportunity to execute on our core strategies.”

Smith said the deal also significantly expands the company’s supply, with access to an additional 7,000 tonnes of premium wild cod and shellfish species including king and queen scallops and brown crab.

Smith said while Macduff has a strong presence in the European Union, they have virtually no presence in North America or Asia. He said Clearwater will help expand Macduff’s distribution reach.

Macduff has 14 scallop harvesting vessels and production plants in Mintlaw and Stornoway, Scotland.

Clearwater also has its own fleet and plants that process scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, crab and groundfish.

Clearwater will pay 94.4 million pounds plus four million pounds of seasonal debt to acquire Macduff, which is currently owned by the Beaton Family and Change Capital Partners.

It expects the deal to close by Oct. 30.