Thai Union Group has entered into an agreement to buy a 25.1% stake in Thammachart Seafood Retail Co., which provides management services for local seafood retailers, for THB37m (US$1.1m).

The deal by the John West tuna brand owner is expected to be completed by the end of July and will see chief executive Julian Davies and co-founder Yeeran Davies initially remain majority owners. However, Thai Union plans to increase its shareholding to 65% next year via an options agreement.

Thammachart Seafood was founded in 2007 and generates sales of more than THB660m. It serves 158 fresh and frozen seafood counters throughout Thailand, which includes food and beverage concepts such as The Dock Seafood Bar and The Lobster Lab.

Thai Union said it will be able to use Thammachart’s seafood restaurant concepts through the deal as well as potentially supply its products to TSR, including its retail segment. 

Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO of Thai Union, said: “This investment marks a strategic step to quickly penetrate the retail segment with Thai Union’s recently-launched frozen products under our Qfresh brand. Thai Union and TSR believe offering high-quality chilled and frozen seafood products will better serve our customers.

“Further, this investment is in line with Thai Union’s focus in the high-growth market in Asia, including Thailand, where we have seen double-digit growth in our frozen businesses in recent years.”

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By GlobalData

The latest deal follows Thai Union’s purchase of a 45% holding in DPR Group, a Russia-based seafood business, in May for $16m. DPR is Russia’s leading canned tuna producer with annual sales of around $45m. The company operates in the frozen and ambient segments, owning brands such as Maguro, Captain of Tastes and Rybar.