Canada's Sofina to acquire Young's Seafood owner Eight Fifty - Just Food
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Canada’s Sofina to acquire Young’s Seafood owner Eight Fifty

29 Mar 2021 (Last Updated April 6th, 2021 18:34)

Canadian food group Sofina has agreed a deal with a private-equity firm to acquire its seafood and pork business.

Canada’s Sofina to acquire Young’s Seafood owner Eight Fifty

Canadian manufacturer Sofina Foods has struck a deal to buy Eight Fifty Food Group, the UK and Irish meat and seafood processor, from private-equity firm CapVest.

The terms of the deal are undisclosed.

CapVest acquired UK pork processor Karro Food Group in 2017. CapVest and the company’s management subsequently acquired seafood business Young’s Seafood in 2019 to create Eight Fifty Food Group

Eight Fifty, based in North Yorkshire in northern England, later consolidated five other protein businesses from across Europe, including, most recently, Irish deli-meats and ready-meals supplier Carroll’s Cuisine.

Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food businesses, producing primary and processed protein lines for retail and foodservice customers. Its brands include Cuddy, Lilydale, Janes and Mastro.

The company operates 21 different sites and employs approximately 5,000 people.

Eight Fifty supplies branded and own-label seafood and meat products. The pork division is one of the largest processors and suppliers of products across the UK and Ireland. The seafood arm is the largest provider of chilled and frozen seafood products across the UK, including the Young’s brand, and is a major player in frozen seafood across Germany and France.

The group employs around 8,300 people, across 23 manufacturing sites. 

The business will remain under the leadership of Di Walker and will “complement” Sofina’s existing business, the company said.

Walker, the CEO of Eight Fifty, said: “We began this journey as a UK-only pork supplier doing less than GBP500m (US$691.1m) in sales and after several years of transformational organic and acquisitive progress are now the European multi-protein specialist with over GBP2bn in sales. This transaction and the interest in Eight Fifty is a great reflection on the quality of the business and testament to the work that CapVest and our entire management team have completed. We’re very excited to join Sofina Foods to deliver on their ambitious future growth plans.”

Michael Latifi, founder and executive chairman of Sofina, added: “As a leading Canadian multi-protein specialist, this acquisition allows Sofina Foods to continue on our path of ambitious expansion. Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers and we have created a solid global foundation for continued growth. With a history of excellence in food production and processing spanning over 25 years, the strong brands of Eight Fifty Food Group align perfectly with our prominent brands and our shared future vision.”

The new company will have over 13,000 employees globally across 44 sites and near CAD6bn (US$4.76bn) in annual revenue.