EUROPE’S largest wild caught shellfish processor, Macduff Shellfish, announced yesterday it had acquired a shellfish trading business and four scallop fishing vessels in the south west of England for an undisclosed sum.
Macduff Shellfish, based in Mintlaw near Peterhead in Scotland, intends to use the acquisition – from Exeter-based the Greendale Group – to gain a foothold in the area, building relationships with fishermen to help grow the business.
The 11-strong shore based shellfish team at the Greendale Group’s Shellfish Trading Division will transfer to Macduff Shellfish’s employment, joining around 400 other colleagues throughout the UK.
The 24 fishermen operating the four scallop fishing vessels will join Macduff fleet’s existing team of 110 and bring its total scallop fishing fleet to 14 vessels.
Euan Beaton, chairman of Macduff Shellfish, said: ‘The acquisition is a really exciting opportunity for our business for three key reasons: it sees the culmination of a 10-year trading relationship with the Greendale Group; it expands our scallop fishing fleet by 40 per cent, and it allows us the opportunity to build on the solid relationship that already exists with fishermen in the south west of England to grow the Exeter business.’
Roy Cunningham, managing director of Macduff Shellfish, adds: ‘In doing this, we bring a track record of investing in vessels and equipment beyond the fleet that we own, as we have successfully done through an acquisition in the north west of Scotland.’
Two years ago Macduff Shellfish acquired a seafood processing factory in Stornoway from Young’s Seafood, giving the business a foothold in the north west of Scotland.
A financial assistance partnership approach between Macduff Shellfish and the local authority (Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar), backed with practical assistance from the Western Isles Fishermen’s Association, has helped modernise the current ageing fleet and brought four brand new vessels to the Western Isles.
‘It’s through approaches such as these that we would like to develop with fishermen in the south west of England,’ said Cunningham.
‘It helps fishermen to realise their ambitions and provides us with a strong, sustainable supply chain.’
Mat Carter, managing director of the Greendale Group, said: ‘Macduff Shellfish has increasingly been Exeter’s major customer, accounting for a substantial proportion of the shellfish we sell.
‘We feel the sale of the business to a dedicated shellfish operation is in the best interests of the Exeter operation and our employees and will allow us to focus on our many other business interests.’
Rory McPherson, head of Structured Finance, Aberdeen, Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate & Institutional Banking, said: ‘The Royal Bank of Scotland is pleased to provide continued support to help Macduff Shellfish realise its ambitions.’
Beaton said: ‘This is a really exciting time in Macduff Shellfish’s continued expansion. Over the last 10 years we’ve quadrupled the size of the business.
‘In the next three years I’d like us to double it again through acquisition deals such as this and through organic growth.’