Antarctica Advisors Acts as Exclusive Investment Banking Advisor to Sea Fresh USA in its 100% Sale to Oceano Seafood

September 26, 2023 – Antarctica Advisors LLC, the leading Seafood Industry-focused M&A advisory firm, acted as the exclusive investment banking advisor to Sea Fresh USA (“Sea Fresh”), one of the largest processors of fresh, premium-quality, wild-caught Loligo Squid in the U.S., in its sale to Oceano Seafood (“Oceano”), an international fishing and processing conglomerate from Lima, Peru.

Founded in 1981, Sea Fresh USA is a fully integrated seafood business with fishing, unloading, processing & packing operations. Sea Fresh has docking operations in Galilee, RI (Handrigan Seafoods) and a BRC-certified processing facility in North Kingstown, RI. The company is well known for its fresh and frozen Squid products distributed through retail and food service.

James Fox, Owner of Sea Fresh, commented: “Oceano has been a customer of ours for several years and we are excited to be their first acquisition in the U.S. market. We are thankful to have worked with the Antarctica Advisors team who played a key role in helping us navigate this complex transaction process. Their senior banker M&A advice was critical to the structuring and negotiating the best possible transaction for me and my employees.”

Ignacio Tirado, President of Oceano Seafoods, shared: “It is an honor to continue Jim Fox’s legacy and to join the company’s experienced management. We aim to continue investing and growing the business in the U.S. and integrate it our global sourcing capabilities into it.”

Ignacio Kleiman, Managing Partner of Antarctica Advisors, pointed out: “Sea Fresh provides Oceano direct access to the U.S. market with a brand recognized for its high-quality fresh Squid products. We very much appreciated the opportunity to have worked with Sea Fresh’s team and look forward to watching the company’s continued growth.”

For Oceano, the acquisition of Sea Fresh expands its international footprint while deepening its supplier network and presents numerous synergies facilitating growth including diversifying its product offerings with access to the U.S. market.

Antarctica Advisors is the leading US-based, independent investment banking firm providing corporate clients in the global Seafood Industry with specialized M&A advisory, private equity and debt capital raising services. The firm’s highly specialized Seafood Team is comprised of professionals with significant knowledge of the Seafood Industry, as well as a proven track record of successful transaction execution.

Antarctica Advisors LLC is a licensed broker-dealer, member of FINRA and SIPC.

For further information contact Ignacio Kleiman, Antarctica Advisors LLC at: or visit

$400m Peruvian group snaps up US squid supplier

A Peruvian seafood group with an annual turnover of more than $400m has inked a deal for one of the major players in the US squid sector
A Peruvian seafood group with an annual turnover of more than $400 million has acquired one of the most prominent players in the US squid sector, sources told Undercurrent News. Peru’s Oceano Corp., which snapped up Spanish cephalopod supplier Pesfasa from bankruptcy earlier this year, has acquired Rhode Island-based Sea Fresh U.S.A., sources said.

Sea Fresh owns and operates its vessels and an unloading dock in Galilee, a fishing village on Point Judith within the town of Narragansett, on the southern end of the state. It also owns a British Retail Consortium-approved processing plant in nearby North Kingstown, according to the company website.

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Antarctica Advisors Acts as Exclusive Investment Banking Advisor to Boston Sword & Tuna in its 100% Sale to Fortune International, LLC

June 13, 2023Antarctica Advisors LLC, the leading Seafood Industry-focused M&A advisory firm, acted as the exclusive investment banking advisor to Boston Sword & Tuna, Inc. (“Boston Sword”), one of the largest distributors of fresh, premium-quality, wild-caught and farm raised seafood in North America, in its sale to Fortune International, LLC (“Fortune”), one of the largest seafood and specialty food distributors in the United States.

Based in the heart of Boston’s Seaport District, Boston Sword was established in 2003 by the Scola Family.  Michael Scola, CEO of Boston Sword, will continue to run the company along with Co-Owner and President Larry Dore.  With the backing of Fortune and capacity added through a recent 9,000 sq. ft. expansion of its processing plant, Boston Sword will take its already sizable skin-pack business national and significantly grow its other lines of business.

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Boston buzz: SENA overcome by M&A tidal wave

‘Everything everywhere all at once’ is not just the name of the movie that won best picture recently. It’s also an accurate description of last week’s Boston seafood show

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles summarizing the recent Seafood Expo North America, otherwise known as the Boston seafood show. Tom Seaman, Louis Harkell, Matilde Mereghetti, NickSambides and Matthew Craze contributed reporting to this article.

“Everything everywhere all at once” is not just the name of the movie that won best picture recently at the 2022 Academy Awards. It’s also an accurate description of last week’s Boston seafood show, especially the incredible flurry of mergers and acquisition (M&A) activity.

No less than six major deals got announced during, just before or after the three-day event, March 12-14. Fortune International confirmed that it has agreed to acquire Boston Sword & Tuna (BST), for example, adding close to $300 million in sales to the Chicago, Illinois-based seafood import, processing and wholesale giant, taking it to over $ 1 billion in annual revenue.

Birgir Brynjolfsson, a partner at Antarctica Advisors, a Miami, Florida-based M&A consulting firm that represented BST in its sale process, counts several reasons for the M&A flood in and around the Boston seafood show.

“Several transactions were postponed in the second half of 2022 and, since the start of 2023, M&A activity has been picking up considerably,” he toldUndercurrent News in a recent email exchange.

“The Boston show this year was the first show since 2019 where people could prepare well in advance for the show, and the reason you had so many announcements come out this year is likely because people involved wanted to be able to share the news with their customers and suppliers in person,” he added.

The number of deals around Boston was “unusual”, Brynjolfssonacknowledged. He said that “despite higher financing costs and price volatility”, there is a need for both consolidation and succession in the seafood industry.

“There is also the belief that taxes in the US may increase in the near future,” he said. “Tax increases are bad for business owners that want to sell because they can both negatively impact valuations and leave the seller with lower after-tax proceeds. Many business owners are therefore considering accelerating their plans to sell before the window closes.”

China returned in force

The 41st edition of the Boston seafood show, more properly known asSeafood Expo North America (SENA), is over, but the six reportersUndercurrent sent to full-court press the event are still digesting what they heard and looking to provide even more coverage in coming days. This series of articles hopefully will give you a good sense of the most important things our team heard.

DiversifiedCommunications, thePortland, Maine-based company that organizes the three-day event every year, reported having 1,141 exhibitors from 49 countries between both SENAand Seafood ProcessingNorth America, a conference that it runs in conjunction with the main event at the Boston Convention Center. This year the overall exhibit space was expanded to 237,665 square feet, 31% more than in 2022.

The two events included new exhibitors from a multitude of countries, including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Poland and Tunisia.

One of the biggest showings in Boston came from China, which sent 96 exhibitors to the event this year after not showing up last year due heavily to COVID-related travel restrictions. Of course, it was nowhere close to the 527 exhibitors in Boston from the US, though it was close to the 98 that came from Canada.

The 2019 edition of the Boston seafood show remains the largest in the event’s four-decade history, having included 1,359 exhibitors overall. Several attendees told Undercurrent that this year’s show was among the biggest and most active they’ve ever experienced. Recall that the 2020 and 2021 expos were canceled due to pandemic concerns, and the 2022 show was considerably tamer, with only about 830 exhibitors, as reported by Undercurrent at the time.

Darrell Roche, senior vice president at Whitecap International SeafoodExporters, a Saint John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador-based distributor of Canadian seafood, said his booth at the 2023 show was the busiest its been in its 20 years of presence at the event.

“There was a big turnout due to the void left for customers and suppliers during COVID,” he toldUndercurrent. “Given inflation and the tougher markets in certain species, the Boston seafood show[was] the perfect venue for all stakeholders to be in one place together.”

Steve Harmell, the owner of Green Zone Seafood, a wholesaler based in Pembroke Pines, Florida, said he’s been going to the Boston show for four decades, and the crowd at the 2023 event was among the largest he’s ever seen there.

Several attendees have told Undercurrent in the past that Boston is where prospective seafood sales contacts are made before deals are closed during Seafood Expo Global, an even bigger event in Barcelona, Spain, April 25-27, this year. But Harmell disagreed, saying Boston often serves as the finish line in sales, and he’s had many contracts signed there.

Also, it’s a great place for companies to showcase new products, he said.

“The importance of this show is, without a doubt, to see and be with the folks that you’ve come to know over the years and share thoughts, ideas, successes, failures, and meet new people that you can do business with going forward,” he said. “I’ve seen companies grow the size of their exhibits to attract more attention, and I’ve seen new products shown that have gone on to be stable items in retail and food service.”

Succession planning a common trend

The M&A deals announced in and around Boston represented a wide variety of transaction types, from wholesalers looking to gain more regional territory to processors adding species to their product mixes. But Brynjolfsson noticed one thing that many of the deals had in common.

“Succession planning seems to be the common trend in most transactions announced recently and we expect to see that trend continue,” he told Undercurrent, adding a prediction for the future: “Cross-border transaction activity slowed down during the pandemic, so it would not be a surprise if we start seeing more cross-border transactions in 2023.”

In fact, what happened in Boston could be just the tip of an M&Aiceberg due to a worsening economic environment and rising borrowing costs, suggested Jason Brantley, senior vice president at Bank of America, and John Doucette, executive vice president and head of commercial banking at M&T Bank, during a presentation mid-March 14 at the Boston show, as reported by Undercurrent.

Many family-owned companies have a leadership continuity problem because of second and third-generation owners who are either ill-equipped or don’t want to run a seafood company, Doucette said. Some have had assets up for sale for several years but have held out for attractive valuations; they may have missed the window as worsening conditions force sales.

“Deals that were available a few years ago are some of the same deals that are out there now, but the rising rate environment is going to force some of the companies to sell, or they are going to have to consider bringing in partners,” Brantley said. “There is a valuation gap.”

A tick-tock recap of the deals

The torrent of M&A activity happened so fast last week that it was hard to keep up. It actually started on March 11 — the day before the Boston seafood show — when Carson, California-based SouthwindFoods, an importer and processor, confirmed that it had inked a deal to acquire Caito Fisheries, a processor with four locations on the sameWest Coast US state, as reported by Undercurrent.

Southwind president Sam Galletti told Undercurrent that it was his plan to double or even triple Caito’s output, providing it with, among other things, stronger financing to buy more of its key species, including Dungeness crab, salmon, black cod, halibut and rockfish, in addition to Dover and Petrale sole.

In addition to announcing the deal, Southwind, which trades as GreatAmerican Seafood Import Co., revealed plans to build a 40,000-square-foot processing, storage and distribution facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, and a 60,000sf cold storage facility in Vernon, California.

A second deal got announced in Boston the next day, on March 12, when Peter PanSeafood, a processor based in the US state of Alaska, revealed that it signed a letter of intent for an asset purchase ofTrapper’s Creek Smoking Co., a smoked salmon producer. The deal includes a smokehouse facility in Anchorage, Alaska, and its brands: Copper River Smoking Company, Alaska’s Best, Trapper’s Creek and Eat Like a Grizzly.

Peter Pan’s turnover has increased by a multiple of about three to nearly $400m since Rodger May and two US investment firms acquired the company from Japan’s Maruha Nichiro, the largest seafood company in the world, in early 2021, May told Undercurrent in Boston.

Peter Pan canceled its booth for SENA 2022 as concerns grew around the omicron COVID-19 strain. So, this year was the first time the company had a booth as a standalone entity.

“It’s been a coming out party for the new Peter Pan. I’ve been flat out all day, than having two dinners each night,” May said, adding that the response has been “amazing”.

On March 13, $1bn-turnover Ecuadorian shrimp supplier Omarsakept the M&A partygoing by announcing that it had snapped up Altrix de Panama, a plant in Aguasdulcesthat the acquiring company said it plans to upgrade to “Ecuadorian standard”. That includes installing equipment to produce individual quick frozen (IQF)head-on shrimp and peeled IQF shrimp.

Omarsa also plans to expand its vannamei shrimp farming operations in Panama, having acquired 1,200 hectares a few years earlier.

Also, on March 13, Sealaska, an Alaska-native corporation and the US parent of UK-based processor New England Seafood International(NESI), announced that it has grabbed a majority stake in Normarine, a Norwegian cod and haddock supplier. The deal gives NESI closer access to Norwegian whitefish raw material than it already has with Iceland.

The mother of all M&A deals in relation to Boston, of course, was the one announced by private equity-backed Fortune on March 13. That was the acquisition of BST, the prospects for which were first reported by Undercurrent on Feb. 8. The deal is expected to close in the next 60 days, based on a press release from Fortune.

sale in food service and retail. The company also has a salmon burger program, according to its website.

Then, on March 14, $2.5bn-turnover Canadian seafood giant Cookeannounced another blockbuster, revealing that it had entered into a”binding purchase agreement” to acquire Slade Gorton & Co., a prominent US processor based in Waltham, Massachusetts, close to Boston, as reported by Undercurrent.

The M&A news kept coming after the Boston seafood show was over, too, on March 16, when the Madrid, Spain-based news service ElConfidencial reported that acquisitive US-based seafood conglomerate Red Chamber Group had joined Cooke in entering negotiations to acquire a majority stake in Spain’s Nueva Pescanova from ABANCACorporacion Bancaria, the lender that owns a 97% stake in the company. The bank has reportedly offered both companies a flexible financing structure that allows them to plan a complete takeover of the fishing and aquaculture giant.

Red Chamber, Zhenye grew organically, too

Of course, not all of the recent expansion in seafood has been by acquisition. Red Chamber corporate communications manager Valentina Bragagnolo also revealed at the Boston show that her company has commissioned two new fishing vessels to grow its shrimp volumes in Argentina.

Another company looking to expand organically is Chinese tilapia processor Hainan Qinf, which told Undercurrent in Boston that it expects to complete a new CNY 500m ($72.4m) factory by 2025. The plant, which will process up to 500 metric tons of tilapia daily, will replace Qinfu’s existing factory near Wenchang, which processes and exports mainly tilapia fillets for North America and Europe.

The facility will produce more value-added convenience products, like pickled tilapia, grilled tilapia and tilapia bites, mainly for the Chinese domestic market, the company toldUndercurrent.

Also, Zhenye Aquatic, a Chinese processor of farmed whitefish species, told Undercurrent that it’s installing at least two new production lines this year at its facility in Guangdong to produce value-added products for China’s domestic market and export sales in Asia.

Jimmy Chan, deputy general manager of the company, said Zhenyewill add at least two and possibly even four processing lines this year to its existing eight lines. The lines will process locally farmed tilapia, barramundi, Japanese seabass, red drum and catfish.

Zhenye exports 600 containers of finfish products a year but the aim is to expand domestic sales where growth potential “is much bigger”.Aside from being a huge market on its doorstep, China’s value-added demand is growing strongly amid the trend toward convenience.

Same faces in new places

Another thing that happens in Boston every year is that the seafood industry gets introduced to some new faces, but more often, it sees familiar faces with new employers.

There were quite a few big executive moves made in advance of this year’s event.

One of the most high-profile of names to change teams before Boston was Jason Paine, who was recently named the new president of Veitnam-based barramundi farmer AustralisAquaculture, as reported by Undercurrent. Paine previously served for almost 20 years as general manager of US operations for Chilean salmon farmer Multi X.

Another familiar face to change outfits just before the Boston show was Mario Pullara, who was hired by Beaver Street to beef up foodservice sales. Pullara most recently worked for Red Chamber-owned Aqua Star, but he also has been employed by Marubeni’sEastern Fish (two years) and Tampa Maid Fisheries (13 years).

If you were looking for Carey Dougherty, the national sales manager for foodservice at Salisbury, Maryland-based Handy Seafoods, at the Boston show, you needed to head over to the East Coast SeafoodGroup booth instead. Starting this month, she’s the senior national sales manager for New Bedford, Massachusetts-based East Coast after serving four years at Handy, including 18 months in the national sales leadership role and two years and four months as a regional sales manager.

Also worth mentioning is the recent hire by Illex Fishing, an Argentine firm owned by a Chinese investor, of Tomas Gerpe to serve as its general manager. Gerpe was Argentina’s fisheries and aquaculture for three years (2015-2017) before recently joining Illex.

Illex holds a fishing fleet of four squid jiggers, two processing factories in Mar del Plata and PuertoMadryn, and cold storage in Puerto Mardel Planta. It exportsIllex squid, Argentine red shrimp, hake and yellow croaker, among other species.

Yet another big staffing change that got attention in Boston was the promotion of Sidney Azambuja to director of strategic sourcing at RedLobster, the world’s biggest seafood restaurant chain. Azambuja, who got the move up following the exit of Joe Zhou to Slade Gorton & Co., talked to Undercurrent about how he sees the price and supply situation for farmed shrimp as leading to a return to long-term contracts.

“During the pandemic, we went short on contracts. We have to, with all the uncertainty,” he said. “Then, it went to six months, then nine, and now it looks like we can go back to longer contracts.”

The majority of Red Lobster’s shrimp comes from India, butAzambuja, who is Brazilian and also fluent in Spanish, is looking to “get back into Ecuador” for sourcing, he revealed.

Before moving to Red Lobster in 2013, Azambuja worked for USimporter and processor King & Prince Seafood for 10 years, dealing with Latin American shrimp suppliers.


SOURCE: Undercurrent News
PHOTO: Seafood Expo North America 2023. Credit Tom Seaman

Access to finance tightening, but savvy seafood businesses can still make deals

The U.S. Federal Reserve raising interest rates has caused banks to pull back on financing, and that means merger and acquisition activity will slow in the coming quarters, according to a panel of financial experts, speaking during Seafood Expo North America.

The panel, on 14 March at SENA in Boston, Massachusetts, agreed higher interest rates and an uncertain economic situation will lead banks to be much more selective about lending than they were during the post-Covid recovery period when financing was cheap. However, Jason Brantly, a senior vice president and senior relationship manager at Bank of America, said banks will still want to help make deals if the numbers make sense.

“The pendulum has definitely swung from really aggressive lending and obviously cheaper lending rates, but banks are still eager to lend,” Brantly said.

The failure of Silicon Valley Bank on 10 March, and the subsequent failure of Signature Bank, were two of the three largest bank failures in U.S. history, but a lot of the money that was taken out of those banks didn’t just disappear, and Brantly said both Bank of America and fellow panel member John Doucette’sinstitution – M&T Bank – are likely going to see large deposits in the near future as people look for more-stable institutions. That means banks will have more money to reinvest in customers.

However, signs are pointing to banks paring back the amount of lending they do. The leverage B loan market pulled back in January and February as banks decided against loans with slightly higher risk, Brantly said.

“2022 was one of the lowest years in more than a decade, and we’re well below that pace,” he said. “I think what’s happened in the bank market in the last week will probably continue to make it where there is not going to be a lot of folks wanting to go to that market and access capital.”

A court decision finding fishing permits are a revocable privilege, rather than a compensable property, will also impact valuations for seafood companies with wild-catch operations. Depending on how the ruling gets interpreted, that may make it more difficult for companies with fishing vessels to access financing.

“If that becomes a precedent, that will have a substantial impact for those kinds of companies and their ability to access capital markets,” Brantly said. “We depend on that quota as collateral.”

More-expensive financing, coupled with an increasing reluctance from banks to lend to businesses, doesn’t mean merger-and-acquisition activity is off the table – as evidenced by the announcement that Cooke was acquiring Slade Gorton just hours after the panel took place.

“I think the appetite is still there. We’re certainly still interested in lending,” Brantly said.

Doucette said for many transactions requiring large amounts of financing, senior lending institutions aren’t the way to go.

“It’s very easy when rates are low to sit back and say, ‘Get everything you can out of that senior lender,’” he said. “But that term B stuff has just gone away, so now it’s time for the private-equity folks, the family offices. We’ve seen a lot of international activity in the [U.S.] Northeast coming in.”

Term A loans are amortized evenly over five to seven years, while term B loans have nominal amortization over the first five to eight years of the loan and then a large payment in the final year, making it less costly for the company getting the loan, but riskier for the bank in the long run.

Brantly said term B acquisitions are more difficult, but a creative business deal can still be struck – it just takes work and sound advice from advisors. The community development groups in Alaska that partnered with Maruha Nichiro to purchase nine pollock vessels, he said, are one example of groups coming together to make creative deals with unique structures that still accomplish merger and acquisition goals.

Softness creeping into the global economy will also more than likely force some businesses that fall into difficulty to pursue a sale.

“That’s what it’s going to take, is more folks either going together splitting up the deal, or coming together to hold assets in that kind of creative way,” Brantlysaid.

Antarctica Advisors Managing Partner Ignacio Kleiman said that those companies in tight spots should not wait to get in touch with an advisor if the predicted recession makes things difficult for them.

“Don’t wait to call somebody,” he said. “We have worked with many companies in the sector that went through financial difficulties. The smartest ones, they realize it right away, and they would call us or some other advisor.”

Getting ahead of liquidity problems early, and getting in touch with commercial banks early, can help stave off a bigger problem down the road.

“The main thing they are looking for is, do you have a plan?” Kleiman said. “They don’t want to take over your company. They don’t want to liquidate you. They like their clients, and we have done a number of transactions where we work collaboratively. But they want to see that you’re taking your situation seriously.”


Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource

Antarctica Advisors Acts as Investment Banking Co-Advisor to the Shareholders of Poland’s Graal in the Sale of its Canning Business to Germany’s Müller Group

MIAMIFeb. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Antarctica Advisors International Corp, the leading Seafood Industry-focused M&A advisory firm, and Rothschild & Co, acted as the joint investment banking advisors to Abris Capital Partners and Mr. Boguslaw Kowalski, the CEO and founder of Graal Capital Group (“Graal”), a leading fish processor in Poland, in the sale of its Canning Business to Lisner Holding, a subsidiary of Germany’s UTM (Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller) food group. The transaction is subject to Poland’s antimonopoly office approval and excludes Graal’s fresh and smoked fish business (Koral S.A.), produced under the Superfish brand and private label.

Headquartered in Wejherowo, Poland, Graal manufactures canned and chilled fish-based products and prepared foods, branded under the Graal, Neptun and Kuchnia Staropolska brands, and is a major private label supplier. Graal today operates four manufacturing facilities in Poland, employing more than 2,200 people, and exports to 38 countries across EuropeNorth AmericaAsiaAfrica and Australia. The company recorded sales of EUR 350m in 2022.

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German food group Muller signs deal for Polish canner, leaves its salmon biz

Lisner — part of Unternehmensgruppe Theo Muller — has signed an agreement to purchase Graal Group’s canned fish, ready meals and pickles business only.

Lisner — part of German food giant Unternehmensgruppe Theo Muller — has signed an agreement to purchase Polish canner Graal Group’s canned fish, ready meals and pickles business.

The deal is for 100% of this business, while Graal’s salmon operations are not included, Undercurrent News understands.

The deal announcement comes almost a year after Undercurrent reported Muller was in talks with Graal’s majority shareholder — private equity Abris Capital Partners — over a potential deal.

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Revista Redes – Apuntes de Barcelona

Arrancó el año gestionando la venta de los activos de pescado blanco que tenía el grupo Cooke en Icicle Seafood y que compró Maruha Nichiro asociada con dos comunidades de Alaska, y cumplió un rol similar con la griega Kefalonia en su venta a la española Profand. También sesoró a Clearwater en su venta, otra de las operaciones que aparecen en el portal de la compañía, y que prueban la experiencia de Antarctica Advisors en M&A, sigla inglesa para mergers and acquisitions (fusiones y adquisiciones). REDES encontró en Barcelona a su director ejecutivo, Ignacio Kleiman, acompañado por German Thoss, también socio y asesor de la consul­tora, que tiene su base de operaciones en Estados Unidos. Inmejorable oportunidad, entonces, para conocer la vocación del mercado de seafood en materia de compras y adquisiciones, y para corrobo­rar si, como se dice, su atomización supone un pro­misorio panorama para las M&A. Read more

Antarctica ups focus on European M&A after selling Kefalonia to Profand

US-based M&A advisory firm Antarctica Advisors is increasing its focus on European deals, having just closed the sale of Greek seabass and seabream farmer Kefalonia Fisheries to Grupo Profand.

Antarctica added Magnus Thorsson, a former Deloitte executive based in Iceland, to its team last September, managing partner Ignacio Kleimantold Undercurrent News.

Thorsson is based in Iceland, where Birgir Brynjolfsson, a founding partner of Antarctica, is also spending more time working on European deals, in addition to his North America-focused work, Kleiman said.

Brynjolfsson said he’s still “spending considerable time at the company’s office in Miami and on the road working on executing North American transactions”.

Antarctica is responding to demand from its customers by having one eye on Europe.

“As we’ve continued to increase our M&A activity, we’ve been approached by several European seafood companies expressing interest in our services and we are responding to that demand by becoming more relevant in Europe,” Brynjolfsson told Undercurrent. 

“Having a presence in Europe is a logical step towards executing more transactions with our clients and industry contacts. We already have a number of engagements ongoing and expect to increase activity in 2022.”

Antarctica’s European work, to date, has been more focused on assisting European companies to do deals in North America, Kleiman told Undercurrent.

However, there is also a big opening for deals flowing the other way, saidBrynjolfsson.

The firm is seeing “the most opportunity for cross-border transactions [inEurope], which represents the majority of our activities in recent years”, he said.

“Further, the fundamentals in Europe are similar as in North America where there’s a push for efficiency improvements through consolidation and many companies are still family-owned and facing succession challenges.”

Antarctica is “expecting the European market to experience continued consolidation in processing and distribution, continued interest from financial investors, and more of European resource companies looking overseas for additional access to resources or stronger access to markets”,said Brynjolfsson.

As for the Profand acquisition of Kefalonia, the rationale is for the Spanish processor and fishing company to take the Greek farmer’s products into new markets, Brynjolfsson said.

“Kefalonia is a top-class aquaculture company producing high-quality products and that was attractive to Profand, which has strong access to markets worldwide. Further, this was a cultural fit as both companies are family-owned with strong business values focused on sustainability,” he said.

Source: Undercurrent News.

Spain’s Profand acquires Greek seabass, seabream farmer

Spain-based cephalopod and shrimp fishing and processing firm Grupo Profand has acquired a majority stake in Greek seabass and seabream company KefaloniaFisheries. 

Profand, which is one of Spanish retailer Mercadona’s main suppliers of seafood, said the acquisition “boosts the group’s presence in aquaculture production, specifically in seabream and seabass”. 

Kefalonia is a fully vertically integrated company with four fish farms, two packaging plants and a hatchery for the production of eggs and smolts. Its 150employees will join Profand’s workforce of over 2,500, Profand said.

Profand did not disclose the value of the deal. Antarctica Advisors worked as the exclusive advisor to Kefalonia on the sale. 

Enrique Garcia Chillon, CEO of Grupo Profand, said the deal would strengthenProfand’s upstream production, which extends across South America and Europe, both in fishing and aquaculture. Kefalonia produces chilled whole round, gutted and scaled, and bass and bream fillets, as well as frozen bass and bream fillets, both premium and organic. Its products are sold in several Mediterranean countries, with a particular focus on the Italian market.

Profand added it had “total confidence” in Kefalonia’s current management team, which is led by CEO Lara Barazi-Geroulanou. Barazi-Geroulanou is also president of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers.

The deal for Kefalonia comes after the completion of a corporate restructuring atProfand, following the entry of the investment arm of Banca March, CorporacionFinanciera Alba. 

The board reshuffle took place after Alba bought 23.7% of Profand’s shares for €100million ($118m) via its subsidiary Alba Europe in September 2021.

Prior to the deal, the firm was 100% owned by Garcia, now president of the board. 

Profand has also integrated the former Caladero processing plant it acquired from retailer Mercadona back in 2019 for €87.5m. The plant, which adds more than€200m to its turnover, is now named Profand Zaragoza. 

“Kefalonia Fisheries joining the Profand family will allow us to strengthen our presence in the international market and continue the dynamic growth of the company with a wider product range,” said Barazi-Geroulanou.

Profand said Kefalonia was attracted to Profand’s “strong business model, its high growth potential at a global scale and for its outstanding managing team, who will continue leading the company”.


Source: Undercurrent News


Photo Credit: Kefalonia Fisheries