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Sanford Acquires Mussel And Oyster Businesses

Oysters Post-harvest +3 more

NEW ZEALAND - Sanford Limited has announced that it had entered into a conditional agreement with Pacifica Seafoods to acquire its Greenshell mussel and Pacific Oyster businesses for $85 million.

The condition relates to the pre-arranged funding arrangements becoming unconditional by Wednesday 17 November 2010.

The Pacifica Seafoods businesses and assets to be acquired include:

  • Ownership of more than 70 marine farms, 400 hectares of water space and 800 mussel longlines together with lease, share and contract farming operations that include a further 130 hectares of space and 300 mussel longlines.
  • 40 per cent interest in an approved 2,695 hectare mussel farm development opportunity in Pegasus Bay near Christchurch.
  • A large and modern mussel and salmon processing facility in Christchurch.
  • Ten marine farm servicing and harvesting vessels.
  • Various properties near the Marlborough Sounds and in Christchurch.
  • Pacifica’s interest in a cooperative marketing company which markets mussels in China under the “Pure New Zealand Greenshell Mussels” brand (Sanford already has a 35% interest).
  • Approximately 295 employees (during peak season).

All employees are required to be offered employment on at least the same terms and conditions as they are employed on now although there will be some restructuring required between Sanford existing employees and the new Pacifica employees where roles may be duplicated. All affected employees in this category will be consulted with as soon as possible.

“The acquisition of the Pacifica Seafoods business is highly complementary with our existing aquaculture business,” said Eric Barratt, Managing Director of Sanford. “It follows on from our acquisition of marine mussel farms from Sealord in 2009 and is totally consistent with our aquaculture strategy that we outlined in May this year.”

Mr Barratt added: “The acquisition will combine New Zealand’s two largest Greenshell mussel businesses and will consolidate Sanford’s position as New Zealand’s #1 aquaculture producer and exporter. The acquisition also offers significant potential synergy benefits for Sanford, particularly in terms of export marketing and further processing automation.”

The acquisition is expected to be completed on 30 November 2010, subject to the satisfaction of the remaining conditions. As previously announced, Sanford has already received clearance for the acquisition from the Commerce Commission.

Sanford will fund the acquisition using a new three-year debt facility provided by its existing banks. The acquisition is expected to be earnings accretive for Sanford in the current financial year.