Cooke swoops for major European shrimp processor

The Cooke Seafood group, one of the world’s largest salmon farming companies, has acquired Morubel NV the leading shrimp and prawn processor in Western Europe.

Belgium based Morubel cultivates, processes, packs and distributes shrimp and other seafood products.

It also distributes its market-leading organic and frozen products to retail, foodservice and food industry customers across Europe in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, and France.

Morubel’s wild catch product range includes Argentina red shrimp, tropical prawns and shrimp, Vannamei prawns, crayfish, and squid.

The company supplies farmed aquaculture including Black Tiger prawns, northern prawns, mussels and scallops. Morubel delivers products with full traceability of its global supply chain as well as multiple sustainability and food safety certifications.

Founded in 1954, Morubel was acquired in 2014 by Bencis Capital Partners, an independent investment company with offices in Amsterdam, Brussels, and Düsseldorf.

Morubel’s 14,000 square metre plant in Ostend, Belgium has a production capacity of 18,000 metric tonnes for frozen seafood, retail, and bulk packaging with opportunity for increased growth.

Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Inc said: “Morubel’s focus on developing sustainable, new added value products and continuously focusing on innovation was an attractive complement to our European seafood offerings.

“We’re very excited to welcome Morubel’s 100 employees to Cooke. The plant staff, sales and management are exceptional, and they have formed longstanding customer relationships by being a flexible and reliable supplier with consistently high quality and short delivery times.”

The Cooke family of companies has diversified operations in Europe including Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, Northeast Nutrition Scotland, Cooke Aquaculture Spain / Grupo Culmarex, and Bioriginal Europe/Asia B.V. in The Netherlands. Globally, Cooke harvests and sells 30% wild seafood and 70% farmed seafood and has in-market European sales representatives.

Dirk De Pandelaere, CEO of Morubel, said: “Team Cooke had a strong presence this spring in Barcelona at Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global, the world’s largest seafood trade fair.

“The Morubel team welcomes the sale to Cooke – we’ve found an ideal alignment to enable our future growth. We see a lot of opportunities to expand our product line to sell additional Cooke products in European countries where Cooke is building its presence.”

The Cooke group is currently reported to be seeking to buy the Tasmanian salmon farming company Tassal.

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