Macduff Shellfish caught by Canadian firm for £98.4M

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

The catch of the day: Clearwater has acquired Macduff for £98.4M
The catch of the day: Clearwater has acquired Macduff for £98.4M

Related tags: Seafood

Scottish fish processor Macduff Shellfish Group has been acquired by Canadian-based Clearwater Seafoods for £98.4M from the Beaton family and the private equity fund Change Capital Partners.

The deal would help Macduff access to new markets and unlock investment and growth opportunities, it claimed.

Macduff has factories in Mintlaw, Stornoway and Exeter and owns and operates 14 mid-shore scallop harvesting vessels from its Dumfries facility. It employs about 400 people at the seasonal peak, specialising in scallops, langoustine, whelk and crab. 

Nova Scotia-based Clearwater employs about 1,400 people, delivering premium wild seafood including: scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, crab and groundfish. 

‘Accelerate growth’

Macduff Shellfish chairman Euan Beaton, who will become president following completion of the deal, said it was “great news”.

“Having reached our goal of building a £52M business, we had one suitor in mind which shares our vision and values to enable us to accelerate our growth on a global scale,”​ he said.

“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.”

The two businesses key facts

  • Macduff: started fishing in 1760; 400 employees; started exporting in the 1980s
  • Clearwater: formed in 1976; 1,400 employees; based in Nova Scotia, Canada

Macduff employees would benefit from learning and development opportunities as the firms shared best practice, Beaton added.

Macduff md Roy Cunningham will now become vice president.

Sustainable and innovative technologies

Clearwater ceo Ian Smith said the acquisition would provide access to “market leading”​ supply in key markets and channels along with a well-established brand, UK-based harvesting and processing expertise, a strong management team and a talented workforce.

“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.”

Steven Petrow, partner at Change Capital Partners, said: “When we invested in Macduff in 2011 there was a compelling opportunity to transform the business through international expansion and strategic acquisitions. Thanks to our highly successful partnership with the Beaton family and management we have delivered on all fronts and are incredibly proud of Macduff’s achievements.” 


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