UK – Scottish salmon farming company Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) has agreed to acquire local peer Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK (GSHU) in a deal estimated to be worth £164 million (about US$226.69 million). 

With operations in Shetland and Isle of Skye, GSHU currently has 21 active seawater sites, a freshwater hatchery and a processing facility – harvesting around 16,000 tonnes (HOG) of Atlantic salmon in 2020. 

Its acquisition, therefore, aligns well with SSF’s long-term strategy to strengthen its presence in the region, enabling it to deliver optimal biological performance and help meet the rising demand for premium quality, Scottish-grown salmon. 

Scottish salmon is both Scotland’s and UK’s largest food export, ahead of even cheese and chocolate. 56 percent of Scottish salmon exports go to the EU as road freight to major distribution hubs and markets such as the major French fishing port Boulogne-sur-Mer. 

Recent data from the UK Government HMRC show that Scottish salmon exports hit a record high in 2019, providing proof that the market is indeed rapidly expanding. 

With a value of £618 million, sales of salmon overseas increased by 22 percent in 2019 over the year before. The tonnage exported also increased by 26 percent to over 94,000 tonnes, according to HMRC.

The USA, Scottish salmon’s largest market outside the EU, also saw volumes grow in value and volume of 28 percent year on year resulted in exports of 25,000 tonnes. 

“These figures demonstrate just what an extraordinary success Scottish salmon is,” ulie Hesketh-Laird, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) chief executive, said. 

“Such record-breaking performance is hugely encouraging and reflects the excellent reputation which Scottish salmon has in international markets.” 

With demand for the product rising, SSF says these establishments will complement its own operations, which are located across mainland Scotland, Orkney, and Shetland.  

“The purchase of Grieg Seafood Hjaltland UK is a landmark step in our long-term strategy, giving us greater influence over several key biological factors including fish health, stocking regimes and sea lice management,” said Jim Gallagher, CEO of Scottish Sea Farms. 

The transaction is expected to be completed within Q4 2021, subject to certain customary closing conditions and authority approvals. 

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