Scottish seafood processor Macduff Shellfish Group has been sold to Canada’s Clearwater Seafoods in a £98.4m deal.

Macduff, which supplies a number of major supermarkets with own-label seafood such as scallops, langoustine, whelk and crab, has factories in Aberdeenshire, Stornoway and Exeter, and operates a fleet of 14 mid-shore scallop harvesting vessels.

The deal will see the group, which is part-owned by the Beaton family and private equity firm Change Capital Partners, join one of North America’s largest vertically integrated seafood companies.

“Having reached our goal of building a £52m business, we had one suitor in mind which shared our vision and values to enable us to accelerate our growth on a global scale,” said Macduff chairman Euan Beaton. “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.”

Under the terms of the acquisition, Macduff – which employs around 400 staff at the seasonal peak – will retain its name and operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clearwater. Beaton will become president of Macduff, while MD Roy Cunningham will assume the role of vice president.

Beaton said the deal was “great news” for Macduff’s 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 gives fishermen access to more markets,” he added.

Clearwater CEO said the acquisition of Macduff would provide Clearwater with access to “market-leading supply” in key markets as well as a well-established brand, UK-based harvesting and processing expertise, a strong management team and a talented workforce.

“It’s 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,” he added. “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.”