The giants of the seafood world have been busy over the past 12 months, consolidating and refinancing to drive greater supply chain efficiencies.
Kicking off a year of change, Lion Capital - the private equity group behind Young’s Seafood - announced the purchase of beleaguered supplier Cumbrian Seafoods in December 2011.
The integration programme, with site closures and the manufacture of 200 products transferring to Young’s sites, is now complete. “It resulted in the successful delivery of an incredibly complex and disparate footprint realignment project,” says Young’s CEO Leendert den Hollander.
In March 2012, Morrisons announced it was extending its manufacturing expertise to fish with the purchase of a factory in Grimsby. The first fish to be processed at the site started rolling off the production lines in September.
In the same month, Findus Group secured a £220m cash injection from a group of investors comprising Lion Capital, Highbridge Capital, JP Morgan and Northwest Mutual. Of the money raised, £125m will go to repay senior debt, while £25m will be retained on the balance sheet as cash and £70m is an additional credit facility. Lion, which had a majority share of Findus prior to the restructure, will retain a 30% stake in the business.
Finally, this month Permira completed a refinancing of Iglo Group comprising the extension of existing debt from 2014/2015 to 2017, and the issue of €250m of new debt to replace shareholder loan notes with cheaper debt in a bid to reduce the group’s level of interest. Permira abandoned plans to sell Iglo earlier this year when bidders failed to match the asking price.
With more investment in the industry, the seafood category should soon start to feel the benefit in terms of innovation and efficiency savings.