Change Capital Partners sells Macduff in £98.4 million deal

Wild caught shellfish company sold to Canadian Clearwater Seafoods.

Funds advised by Change Capital Partners LLP (Change Capital) have today sold its c.50% interest in Macduff Shellfish Group (“Macduff”), one of Europe’s leading wild caught shellfish companies, to Canadian-based Clearwater Seafoods.

The sale puts the value of the company at £98.4m and results in total investment returns for Change Capital of 2.7 times invested capital.

Macduff was founded in 1985 by the fifth generation of the Beaton family which has been actively involved in the seafood industry for more than 120 years. Based in Mintlaw, near Peterhead in Scotland, Macduff has factories in Mintlaw, Stornoway and Exeter.

Change Capital invested in Macduff in 2011 and worked closely with the Beatons and Management to devise and implement a growth strategy that has transformed the business into a market leader specialising in scallops, langoustine, whelk and crab. 

Key initiatives included several bolt-on acquisitions of fishing fleets and individual vessels to benefit from vertical integration. Acquisitions included the Greendale Group, Saltire Seafoods and the buyout of Scott Trawlers in 2012. 

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Macduff’s fleet now includes 13 scallop vessels and the company is well-positioned to drive further consolidation in the highly fragmented European wild-caught shellfish market. Macduff also expanded their distribution in China and secured three exclusive distribution deals in the US. It now employs around 400 people at the seasonal peak. 

Steven Petrow, Partner at Change Capital Partners, said the initial investment in Macduff in 2011 was driven by a “compelling opportunity to transform the business through international expansion and strategic acquisitions”.

“Thanks to our highly successful partnership with the Beaton family and Management we have delivered on all fronts and are incredibly proud of Macduff’s achievements.  This has been a very successful investment and we are convinced that the next chapter in the company’s history will be very exciting,” he said. 

Euan Beaton, President of Macduff Shellfish Group, added that the team has “thoroughly enjoyed working with Change Capital and are proud of the results we have achieved together”.

“Their understanding of the retail sector combined with their experience in acquisitions, finance and operations was invaluable in establishing Macduff as a market leader,” he continued.

“Significant investments in expanding our fleet and our distribution channels into China and the US have strengthened our global platform and we are well placed to continue delivering strong growth.  We look forward to working with Clearwater.” 

Change Capital Partners was advised by KPMG (Corporate finance) and Burness Paull (legal).

Further reading: Eight Roads Ventures invests $17m in More2

Praseeda Nair

Kellen Rempel

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.