Meat packaging business Hilton Food Group has announced the acquisition of fish processor Seachill for cash consideration of £80.8 million.
The company also will raise gross proceeds of £55.9 million to part-fund the acquisition through the issue of new ordinary shares at an indicative price per share of 760 pence.
The move is both strategic and financial for Hilton as it looks to grow and expand into the UK’s fish supply market.
The chilled seafood market within Great Britain has displayed resilient growth, despite the Common Fisheries Policy, evidenced by a 20-year track record of increasing market value
As a result, the board believes that the acquisition of Seachill, which the number two player in the UK fish market, presents an attractive and relatively low-risk entry into the processing and supply of fish in the UK.
Robert Watson OBE, chief executive of Hilton, said: "The processing and supplying of fish and seafood into the UK is an attractive and growing market and one where we see considerable opportunities to build Hilton's business.
“Our initial discussions with key customers support this view and we look forward to broadening our offering to both our UK and overseas customers alongside our existing meat business."
The acquisition is expected to be completed by 7th November.
Hilton's business was established in 1994 to set up and operate a beef and lamb central meat packing facility in Huntingdon, England.
Since then it has grown rapidly and now has six factories across Europe plus a joint venture which allows the group's products to be sold in supermarkets across 14 European countries.
Hilton also formed a joint venture with Woolworths, Australia in 2013 which operates two factories and the group has recently announced that it will be constructing a new meat processing facility in Queensland to be operated as Hilton Foods Australia.
Grimsby-based Seachill was founded in 1998 and is known for producing the Saucy Fish Co. range.