Premium Brands, Mi’kmaq acquire Canadian sea food company Clearwater for US$767m

CANADA – Clearwater Seafoods, a Canadian seafood company, has been jointly acquired by Premium Brands and a Mi’kmaq First Nations coalition, in a transaction valued at C$1 billion (about US$767 million).

Founded in 1976, Clearwater Seafoods is based in eastern Canada and catches and sells a range of seafood products such as shellfish to customers in the foodservice and retail industries, a majority of whom are located outside Canada.

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The purchase adds to Premium Brands’ growing list of seafood company acquisitions which include a Maine Coast, Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co., Viandex, and North Delta Seafood and Ready Seafood.

Commenting on the acquisition, Premium Brands President and CEO George Paleologou said: “Clearwater is a world-class seafood company with a great management team, best-in-class products and a globally respected brand.”

“Premium Brands will use its value-add expertise, brand development capabilities, and extensive customer relationships to continue to grow this leading global seafood company.”

Also participating in the purchase is FNC Holdings, a legal entity formed specifically for the first nations to invest in Clearwater.

Founded by the Membertou and Miawpukek First Nation, the investment represents the single largest investment in the seafood industry by any indigenous group in Canada.

Membertou First Nation Chief Terry Paul said that following the acquisition, “Mi’kmaq not only become 50 percent owners of the company but also expect to hold Clearwater’s Canadian fishing licenses within a fully Mi’kmaq-owned partnership.”

Chief Terry Paul, Membertou First Nation, added: “This represents a historic opportunity for the Mi’kmaq to strengthen our role in Canada’s commercial fisheries, including playing a much larger part in its unique deep-water fisheries.

Clearwater first announced that it was considering the sale of the company on 5 March saying that it was “in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders to commence the strategic review in light of the company having recently received several expressions of interest.”

Speaking on the sale, Clearwater Board Chair Colin MacDonald “I am confident that this transaction will enhance the culture of diversity and sustainable seafood excellence that exists at Clearwater.”

The purchase comes on the heels of Premium Brands announcing its Q3 results, which had the company posting a record revenue of CAD 1.1 billion (USD 844 million, EUR 715 million).

In August, Premium Brands had announced it was planning to resume its acquisition strategy, which started with its acquisition of Global Gourmet Foods and Allseas Fisheries later that month.

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