Canada-based Clearwater Seafoods entered into an agreement with the Beaton Family and private equity fund Change Capital Partners to acquire 100% of the shares of Macduff Shellfish Group Ltd., a UK-based vertically integrated shellfish company.

"The acquisition of Macduff brings together two of the world's leading and fastest growing vertically integrated wild shellfish harvesters,” says 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 EU, 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."

"Having reached our goal of building a $79 million business, we had one suitor in mind [that] shares our vision and values to enable us to accelerate our growth on a global scale. 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,” adds Euan Beaton, president of Macduff Shellfish Group. "This deal is great news for our operations in the UK, 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."

Macduff brings abundant access to additional seafood supply in key markets and channels along with a well-established brand, UK-based harvesting and processing expertise, a strong local management team and a talented workforce.

The acquisition of Macduff will significantly enhance Clearwater's scale and provide opportunities to access additional supply to accelerate the growth of revenues, profit and free cash flow.

The transaction:

  • Provides access to market leading supply to attractive complementary species, including King and Queen scallops, langoustine, brown crab and whelk.
  • Provides Clearwater enhanced access to key distribution channels, including foodservice and grocery retail, in multiple markets such as the UK, Italy, Spain and Portugal.
  • Expands the distribution of Macduff products with Clearwater providing deeper market access as well as sales and marketing strength in North America and Asia, especially Japan and China.
  • Expands Clearwater's North Atlantic harvesting operations and provides integrated UK-based primary and secondary processing capabilities and expertise with land-based processing facilities in Scotland.
  • Creates a new growth platform for Clearwater. Macduff has grown rapidly over the past four years, has identified multiple growth opportunities and is best positioned to lead and benefit from future investment.

In June, Macduff acquired an additional four scallop trawlers and licenses (bringing their fleet to 14 mid-shore scallop harvesting vessels) along with additional preferred procurement access in complementary shellfish species (i.e. whelk).