India’s Captain Fresh in $50m fundraise to complete deal for US shrimp importer

India’s Captain Fresh is in talks to raise a further $50m from investors as part of the financing for the planned acquisition of US shrimp importer CenSea

India’s Captain Fresh is in talks to raise a further $50 million from investors as part of the financing for the planned acquisition of US shrimp importer, with a deal for a European salmon processor set to follow later in the year, sources told Undercurrent News. As Tech Crunch reported the plans to raise the $50m, Undercurrent sources said the deal talks to buy $300mturnover US shrimp importer Central Seaway Co. (CenSea) are very advanced.

“It sounds like the deal [for CenSea] is close. I’d say weeks away,” one source, who asked not to be named, told Undercurrent. Two more sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed the situation. It’s likely the deal will close before Seafood Expo North America, which takes place in Boston, Massachusetts, March 10-12, they said. CenSea’s management team, led by Joe Rosenberg, Jeff Stern and Nate Torch, declined to comment to Undercurrent. Utham Gowda, CEO and founder of Captain Fresh, which has 80,000 metric tons of seafood going through its Indian platform, did not respond to a request for comment.

Executives with Antarctica Advisors, which is running the sale process for CenSea, also did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Tech Crunch, Captain Fresh is in the “advanced stages” of raising $50m from Nekkanti Sea Foods and venture capital firms SBI Investment, Evolvence, Tiger Global, and Prosus Ventures. Nekkanti, one of India’s largest shrimp processors, led an extended Series C fundraising with $6m, Startup Story reported in January.

The extended Series C is also mentioned by Tech Crunch, which reported it was $15m in total. Prior to the new $50m funding, Captain Fresh had raised over $100m and was valued at $500m in its previous round.

Nekkanti was one of Captain Fresh’s first investors. Captain Fresh CEO Gowda worked for Nekkanti from 2018-2019 as the shrimp processor looked at an initial public offering. He previously worked in banking.

EU salmon deal

Captain Fresh’s planned deal for Polish smoked and fresh salmon processor Koral, which is majority owned by private equity (PE) Abris Capital Partners, is still underway and expected to close later in the year. Koral is the remaining asset left in the PE-backed Graal group after the sale of the company’s canned fish and ready meal assets to German food giant Unternehmensgruppe Theo Muller earlier in 2023, a deal first reported by Undercurrent.

It’s thought this deal is on track, but the aim is to close later in the year.

The Koral plant, which produces fresh, smoked and marinated salmon and whitefish under brands like Super Fish as well as private label, is 22,000 square meters in size.

According to the Graal website, the plant in Kukinia, in the northeast of Poland, has 23 production lines for fresh, cold and hot smoked and marinated fish. The company can process 100t of raw material daily, with salmon and trout, halibut, seabass and tuna as its main species.

As well as smoked products, Koral can produce fresh fish in skin packs and modified atmosphere packaging. Over 500 are employed in the plant, the website states.

Antarctica Advisors is also running the sale process for Koral, having also worked on the sale of Graal’s canned fish and ready-meal assets to Muller.

Captain Fresh has hired Spanish executive Basola Valles to lead the European business as part of his expansion plan. Valles, who worked on Amazon’s European launch and has held top positions with other corporates, has since hired Luz Benitez Povedano as senior commercial director for the EU.

Povedano, who previously worked for France Telecom, Groupon, and JustEat Takeaway, joined the team in


SOURCE: Undercurrent News