Hilton Food Group enters US protein market with acquisition of Foppen for US$102m

UK – British food packaging company Hilton Food Group is set to gain entry into the US market following the acquisition of Dutch Seafood Company – which trades as Foppen – for an enterprise value of €90 million (about US$102 million). 

The Dutch Seafood Company was formed in August 2018 out of a merger between shrimp specialist Klaas Puul and Foppen.  

The company produces smoked products made from Norwegian salmon, rainbow trout, and sockeye salmon at facilities in Hardewijk and Preveza, Greece. 

Foppen had €139.7 million (US$157.7 million) in revenue in FY2021 and recorded an EBITDA of €10 million (US$11.3 million). 

It has been described by Hilton as a “clear market leader in the U.S. in smoked salmon specialties,” as 61 percent of the company’s 2021 sales were to U.S. customers. 

The acquisition of the company is expected to expand Hilton’s presence in the protein category and give it a footing in the US market where it sells its smoked salmon via Costco and other retail outlets. 

Expansion into the US and Netherlands is strategic for Hilton as the grocery retail market for smoked salmon in the U.S. grew by 29 percent, and the Dutch smoked salmon market grew by 11 percent between 2019 and 2020. 

Hilton’s CEO, Philip Heffer, said: “The acquisition of Foppen is an exceptional opportunity for Hilton and another step towards our goal of becoming the global protein partner of choice. 

This acquisition will help Hilton take our offer into new markets and to new global customers for the first time.” 

To partially fund the acquisition, The London Stock Exchange-listed company is said to be raising approximately £75 million via equity placing. 

This is the latest in a string of buy-ups for Hilton, which reported £2.8 billion in revenues and £67 million in adjusted profits last year. 

In September, Hilton, which processes and packages meat for supermarkets including Tesco, acquired the remaining 50% of its joint venture partner Dalco Food. 

In recent months the firm also snapped up the UK’s largest hospitality-supplying butcher, Fairfax Meadow, for nearly £24 million.

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