SeaFood Business

MAY 2014

SeaFood Business is the global trusted authority for seafood buyers and sellers. We are the seafood industry's leading trade magazine with more than 30 years of experience. Our coverage is based on the "business" of buying and selling seafood.

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Page 24 of 42

Kleiman of Antarctica Advisors says the climate for lending and other fnancial services has greatly improved, with new banks coming into the game and increased inter- est from investors. But there's another rather unavoidable factor that could increase consolidation, he adds: Father Time. "Tere's more gray hair in the industry," says Kleiman. "Te industry is getting older at the ownership level and some [may be] looking for exits." Itemized list To paint the most accurate picture of the North Ameri- can seafood supply landscape possible, it should be noted that at least three noteworthy frms with sales estimated at $1 billion or more no longer report their annual sales. For- mer No. 1 company Trident Seafoods of Seattle last con- frmed sales of $1.25 billion- plus in 2009. Trident, which is opening a processing facili- ty in Georgia later this year, is poised for even more growth and could soon top $1.5 bil- lion if it hasn't already. Red Chamber of Ver- non, Calif., hasn't shared its results since 2006, when it posted $1 billion-plus in sales. And the last time that Pacifc Seafood of Clacka- mas, Ore., disclosed its an- nual sales was in 2005, when it generated $874 million. To p Story "Brands have their own persona, if you will, and are the differentiator to set you apart, whether you're a vertically integrated producer or a market-facing company." — Keith Decker, president, High Liner Foods USA should give High Liner yet another boost. Decker says American Pride is "complementary" to High Liner's vision, "a good manufacturer with national chain restaurants, good with the K-12 school-feeding pro- grams and a scallop business, which we felt we could take deeper into our supply with our customers," says Deck- er. "Tere's a certain point where, from a scale perspec- tive, we need to either grow the innovation, create new white space or new dining opportunities or simply put more products on the back of the same truck." Another scallop-supply acquisition from two years ago is paying dividends. East Coast Seafood of Topsfeld, Mass., which acquired New Hampshire-based Seatrade International in 2012, has seen annual sales increase from $149.9 million in 2011 to $276 million in 2013. Te time is ripe for in- creased M&A activity throughout the seafood in- dustry, both in the United States and abroad, says Ig- nacio Kleiman, managing partner of Antarctica Advi- sors in Miami. "When the M&A cycle starts it continues to in- crease," says Kleiman. "Tere is signifcant liquid- ity on the fnancial side, with attractive interest rates, and on the equity side. I think there will be plenty of activ- ity this year." Other recent noteworthy deals include Bumble Bee Foods acquiring Anova Food and, on the distribution side, Sysco acquiring US Foods in a transaction that will create an $8.2 billion food-distri- bution giant. Also, just two months ago, Japanese general trading company Marubeni picked up frozen shrimp sup- plier Eastern Fish Co. of Te- aneck, N.J., which is ranked No. 15. Eric Bloom, CEO of Eastern, says the buying power of Marubeni gives the company fnancial resources it didn't otherwise have. "In a nutshell, it's business as usual," says Bloom. "Te [Eastern] ownership is stay- ing long term and intends to grow the business. We think along the same lines. It's a wonderful opportunity for both parties." Companies like Marubeni are going to make the U.S. market more competitive, says Kleiman, particularly if they diversify into additional species. "Tat creates market disruption, which creates M&A activity." Shrimp, still America's fa- vorite seafood at 3.8 pounds consumed per capita in 2012, appears to be the big- gest in-the-water variable going forward regarding sales forecasts. Te aquacul- ture disease early mortality syndrome (EMS) has had a profound impact on sup- plies and has forced shrimp prices up by $3 a pound for certain sizes. Infation was a key driver in increased dol- lar sales for leading frozen shrimp suppliers like Chick- en of the Sea Frozen Foods. "Our tonnage sales in- creased signifcantly as well. We experienced strong year- over-year same-customer trends and were also fortu- nate enough to add some new relationships into the mix," says President and CEO Bry- an Rosenberg. "Tat said, the real demand impact from high shrimp prices due to EMS has really only shown itself since November-De- cember and has amplifed in February and March." Te disease, which has devastated shrimp farms in Asia and elsewhere, has put added pressure on supply ar- eas that have not been afect- ed, such as Ecuador. Ngo of H&N Foods says maintain- ing its relationship with sup- pliers in Ecuador has been crucial as the competition for product gets stifer. "We've been in Ecuador for 20-plus years. We've nev- er gone out of that country," says Ngo. "We have the com- mitted product lines we need to purchase, but we also need to be on top of our fnancing needs and credit facilities to pay these suppliers quicker than the other guys are will- ing to bid for product. To stay ahead of the curve is to be fnancially sound." 20 SeaFood Business May 2014 Visit us online at To p Story With improved interest rates, investors are turning their eyes back to seafood. 18_21TopStory.indd 20 4/16/14 9:36 AM

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