THE Icelandic Group has agreed the sale for cash of its Grimsby based subsidiary Icelandic Seachill to the Hilton Food Group, a specialist international meat packing business, in a deal worth £80.8 million. Final completion is expected next month.
Icelandic said the Seachill sale process, announced by its main board in April this year, received significant interest from multiple parties on a global basis. But Hilton emerged as the likely successful bidder at the end of July.
Iceandic said the enterprise value of the deal is worth £84 million, but the actual cash figure is £80.8 million and it represents the largest sale of a UK based seafood business for many years.
Seachill, makers of the highly successful Saucy Fish Co range, will now become a standalone division of Hilton following completion, with the existing Seachill management team remaining in place.
Simon Smith, the current Seachill CEO, will continue to lead the business as a divisional head of Hilton.
Seachill is a major supplier of chilled and frozen natural white fish and salmon and added value products within the coated and ready-to-eat fish sectors.
Hilton’s business was established in 1994 to set up and operate a beef and lamb central meat packing facility in Huntingdon. It has grown rapidly and now has six factories, and its products are sold in supermarkets across 14 European countries.
Hilton is a publicly traded company listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
Herdís Dröfn Fjeldsted, chair of the board of Icelandic Group and CEO of the Icelandic Enterprise Investment Fund (EIF) said: ‘This agreement to sell the business comes after the completion of a very successful re-organisation of our UK businesses under the current management team into a single business known as Seachill, which has given a scale that has enabled the growth of stronger and more successful strategic relationships with customers and suppliers.
‘It is clear that Hilton is very well positioned to deliver further success for the business.’
Simon Smith added: ‘There is a very strong strategic fit between the businesses, and I believe the transaction will be welcomed by all stakeholders.
‘Under the ownership of Hilton we will be able to invest further in our facilities and improve our organisational capability to serve our customers better.
‘This is great news for the ongoing success of the business.’