Macduff Shellfish Group is to be acquired by Canadian-based Clearwater Seafoods in a deal worth nearly £100million.

Based in Mintlaw near Peterhead, Macduff has factories in Mintlaw, Stornoway and Exeter, and owns and operates 14 mid-shore scallop harvesting vessels from its Dumfries facility.

At the seasonal peak, Macduff employs around 400 people and specialises in scallops, langoustine, whelk and crab.

Clearwater, based in Nova Scotia, is North America’s largest vertically integrated seafood companies and employs approximately 1,400 people delivering wild seafood including scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, crab and groundfish.

Under the deal, Macduff will retain its name and operate and a wholly-owned Clearwater subsidiary. Current chairman Euan Beaton will become president of Macduff, and managing director Roy Cunningham will assume the role of vice president.

Euan Beaton said: “Having reached our goal of building a £52million business, we had one suitor in mind which shares our vision and values to enable us to accelerate our growth on a global scale. With a similar vertically integrated business model, sustainability at its heart, sound employee practices and strong relationships with fishermen but operating on a much bigger scale, Clearwater is an ideal fit for Macduff.

“This deal is great news for our operations in the UK, bringing investment and access to new markets within an extremely successful and respected business. It provides learning and development opportunities for our staff as we share best practice with Clearwater and it gives fishermen access to more markets.”

Ian Smith, CEO of Clearwater said: “The acquisition of Macduff brings together two of the world’s leading and fastest growing vertically integrated wild shellfish harvesters. The transaction will allow Clearwater to integrate its vessel management and sustainable harvesting practices, innovative processing technologies along with its global sales, marketing and distribution footprint into Macduff; a company that already possesses a talented management team, excellent resource assets and a strong presence in Europe, the world’s largest and most valuable seafood market.

“Our companies have been building a working relationship for more than three years and we are confident Macduff represents a highly attractive investment with a strong strategic fit for Clearwater.”

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