Europe’s largest wild-caught shellfish processor, Macduff Shellfish, has further invested in its scallop fishing fleet with the acquisition of four scallop boats from Saltire Seafoods.
The deal, for an undisclosed sum backed by the Royal Bank of Scotland, enables the Mintlaw-based to further secure its scallop supply, building greater integration – from the sea to the kitchen – into the business.
It forms part of an ambitious plan to double the size of the business over the next three years and follows the acquisitions of Europe’s largest scallop fishing fleet, Dumfries-based Scott Trawlers, at the end of last year and langoustine processing business, Young’s Seafood in Stornoway, in September.
The four-strong fleet bought from Kirkgunzeon-based Saltire Seafoods, and 25 crew will operate under Macduff Shellfish’s Scott Trawlers subsidiary which currently has six vessels in its fleet.
All boats will operate out of Dumfries and owner of Saltire Seafoods Jim Smith Snr and his son Jim Smith Jnr will work with Scott Trawlers on a consultancy basis.
Commenting on the deal Euan Beaton, chairman of Macduff Shellfish, said: “The acquisition of Scott Trawlers last year was a groundbreaking deal for us, purchasing a whole fleet of fishing vessels for the first time. That brought with it a greater chain of custody – from the sea to the kitchen.
“We will continue to buy from other scallop boats and look to expand our innovative financing scheme to help scallop, langoustine, whelk and crab fishermen fund boat improvements, purchases or equipment upgrades.
“We have such financing arrangements in place with nine vessels to date and are looking to grow this.
“The health and sustainability of our fishing sector is key for us as we look to expand our worldwide sales through sustainable and profitable growth.”
Roy Cunningham, MD of Macduff Shellfish, adds: “As demand for wild shellfish increases across the world, ensuring supplies of sustainably caught, quality shellfish becomes ever more important.
“Our vision is to ensure that we have a shared sense of security of supply, met by connecting harvesting, through to processing and sales and marketing, ensuring a reliable service to our worldwide customers across the shellfish species we prepare.”
Rory McPherson, Head of Structured Finance, Aberdeen, Royal Bank of Scotland Corporate & Institutional Banking, said:
“We are delighted to increase our commitment to Macduff Shellfish by supporting this latest strategic acquisition. Our funding is aligned to the growth ambitions of Macduff Shellfish and our involvement in this transaction underlines our commitment to supporting quality business in the North East of Scotland.”
Macduff Shellfish, based in Mintlaw near Peterhead in Scotland, exports to Europe and the Far East as well as supplying the UK market.