Cooke Aquaculture is back on the acquisition trail after moving to buy US fresh and frozen seafood company Mariner Seafood.
Based in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Mariner has an international reach and processes a broad range of farmed and wild-caught fish. Its brands include MarSelect and GO WILD.
The deal was completed through Cooke’s processing division, True North Seafood.
Glenn Cooke, CEO of Cooke Inc, in a press release: “It has long been a dream of our family seafood company to have a presence in the number one value fishing port in the nation, New Bedford.”
He added: “We now have over 4,000 Cooke employees in 22 U.S. states and we will continue to invest and grow our New Bedford processing operations to supply our customers.”
Mariner currently has a workforce of 170 and the company is capable of processing over 8,000 metric tons of seafood product between a 32,000 square foot headquarters and a 14,000 square foot salmon processing facility on the New Bedford waterfront.
Mariner has faced difficulties over the past three years since losing a major supply contract in 2017, which had led it to refocus on selling consumer packaged goods direct to retailers. This required significant capital investment and when negotiations over another supply contract fell through in 2019, Mariner’s management started looking to either refinance or sell the company. That had got under way early this year, but the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic brought that process to a halt and the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September.
The acquisition was allowed to go ahead after a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled last week that True North would be permitted to buy Mariner out of bankruptcy.
Jon Mitchell, the Mayor of New Bedford, said: We are very pleased to welcome True North Seafood to New Bedford and we look forward to supporting Cooke’s continued growth as a global seafood leader.”
Cooke Aquaculture has a global reach including a strong fish farming base in Scotland with farms located in Orkney and Shetland. Earlier this year it created a number of jobs at its new organic salmon farm on Orkney and re-opened a previously closed feed mill at Invergordon.
In 2019 Cooke acquired two Latin American shrimp processors, Seajoy and Farallon Aquaculture de Nicaragua. The previous year, it took over The Fish Company, a seafood distributor based in Florida.