Hilton said it would raise up to £55.9M to partly fund the acquisition via a share placement – selling a small number of shares to select investors in order to raise capital. The transaction is due to complete on or around November 7.
The meat processor, which has operations in Portugal and Australia, said the acquisition would broaden its product offering to both its UK and overseas customers. The acquisition was expected to add to Hilton’s earnings in its first full year.
Seachill will become a standalone division of Hilton following completion, with the existing management team remaining in place. Simon Smith, the current Seachill ceo, will continue to lead the business as a divisional head of Hilton.
UK’s second largest fish processor
Hilton believed that the acquisition of Seachill, reportedly the UK’s second largest fish processor, presented an “attractive” and low risk entry into the processing and supply of fish in the UK.
Robert Watson, chief executive of Hilton, said: “The processing and supplying of fish and seafood into the UK is an attractive and growing market and one where we see considerable opportunities to build Hilton’s business.
“Our initial discussions with key customers support this view and we look forward to broadening our offering to both our UK and overseas customers alongside our existing meat business.”
Hilton confirmed it was in talks to buy another company in August, which was thought to be Icelandic Seachill.
Seachill ceo Simon Smith added: “There is a very strong strategic fit between the businesses, and I believe the transaction will be welcomed by all stakeholders.
‘Invest further in our facilities’
“Under the ownership of Hilton we will be able to invest further in our facilities and improve our organisational capability to serve our customers better. This is great news for the ongoing success of the business.”
Following the completion of the sale, Hilton planned to invest in Seachill to increase capacity and use its experience in robotics and automated processes to develop state-of-the-art facilities for assembling, packing and distributing of fish products.
Hilton also planned to expand Seachill overseas, following the successful model of its recent overseas expansion alongside key customers in Portugal and Australia.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, Hilton revealed plans to build a £29.2M (NZ $54M) factory in New Zealand, as it continued its global growth.
Hilton Food Group – at a glance
- Has operations in Portugal and Australia
- On Monday (October 16), revealed plans to build a new £29.2M factory in New Zealand
- Sales for the company grew 9.3% to £690.7M in the 28 weeks to July 12 this year