South Africa’s competition authority has given the green light to Sea Harvest Group taking a majority interest in BM Food Group.

The transaction has been conducted via Cape Harvest, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cape Town-based frozen seafood business Sea Harvest, which is part-owned by Brimstone Investment Corp., a South African investment firm. The two food companies also supply dairy products following a deal finalised in 2019 via Cape Harvest for Ladismith Cheese.

BM Food Group, which currently trades as BM Food Manufacturers, was established in 2006 as a result of a merger between two South African food companies – Bettafresh Prepared Foods and Mediterranean Delicacies. It has a pair of production facilities, one in Cape Town and another in Lanseria, north of Johannesburg.

The company serves the retail, foodservice and B2B channels with products such as dips, olives, ready meals, salads and fresh vegetables, pastries, sauces and soups.

Cape Harvest is purchasing a 51% stake in the business as two of the founding shareholders retire, while the remaining 49% will stay in the hands of the CEO of BM Food and its sales and marketing director, Muhammad Brey, the chief executive of Sea Harvest, confirmed to Just Food, declining to reveal the purchase price.

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“The deal gives us further scope in the food category in South Africa,” Brey said. “It’s a good management team that we retaining, and very good synergies between our current businesses in fish and cheese.”

Costas Vayanos, the CEO of BM Food, confirmed the two retiring shareholders as Alistair Wood and John Lourandos.

Vayanos, and sales and marketing director Ali Buhler, will hold the remaining stake in the business.

The CEO said in a statement: “BM Foods will continue to operate largely autonomously and with the additional support we know we can embark on larger projects more efficiently and continue to grow our product offering to the market.

“Through this process and beyond we will continue to focus on retail, foodservice, and contract manufacturing through our own brand development as well as continued house-brand development.”

The competition body added with respect to the approval of the deal: “The tribunal has concluded that the transaction will not substantially prevent or lessen competition in any relevant market in South Africa as, post-merger, the merged entity will continue to compete with a number of firms.”

No job losses are expected as a result of the transaction, the Competition Commission said. Brey confirmed BM Food employs 500 people.