The deal will see Neomar's shrimp farm in Kiel - where the Oceanloop technology was developed and trailled - and Crusta Nova’s farm in Bavaria both operate under the Oceanloop name and help to “create Europe's technology leader for land-based farming of saltwater shrimp”, with plans to increase capacity to 2,000 tonnes by 2027.
According to Oceanloop, its facilities are more sustainable, environmentally friendly and have a smaller ecological footprint than traditional shrimp farms. The global warming potential (GWP) of a tonne of shrimp farmed in an Oceanloop facility is up to 77 percent lower than in open pond farms. It uses up to 49 percent less land and up to 96 percent less water, all with the help of 100 percent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.
The Oceanloop Group combines the Bavarian firm Crusta Nova – founded in 2015 by Dr Fabian Riedel and entrepreneurs around Rigeto Unternehmerkapital – with the farming skills of Dr Bert Wecker, who is backed by Sander Holding and has been producing a range of seafood species at a site in Kiel for over a decade. The shrimp from all Oceanloop farms will be sold exclusively under the Honest Catch brand.
Meanwhile, the aquaculture engineering company Neomar, also acquired by the Sander family, will provide the in-depth technology know-how for the Oceanloop Group and third parties as Oceanloop Engineering GmbH.
The expansion of Oceanloop's farming capacities will be done in conjunction with the construction of a dedicated hatchery for the production of shrimp larvae. Internationalisation of Oceanloop farms to other import-dependent markets – such as the USA, Middle East or Japan – is also planned.
With the investment of a German impact investor in Oceanloop and Honest Catch in February 2023, a pre-closing for the financing of the European scaling plans took place. The Oceanloop shareholders will start actively approaching investors in spring 2023 to finance the European scale-up, aiming for a total investment of about €150 million, which is expected to be completed by 2024.
Dr Fabian Riedel, co-founder and co-CEO of Oceanloop and Honest Catch, said: "Oceanloop is the continuation of our vision of realising sustainable land-based shrimp farming in all import dependent countries of the world. After years of building up, with Oceanloop we are proud to have developed a technology made in Germany that will revolutionise the shrimp industry.
“In times of urgent global transformation towards a more climate-neutral food production, Oceanloop is an important contribution. Honest Catch, as the exclusive distributor of Oceanloop, will further develop the seafood category with new impulses. Especially in e-commerce, seafood is a highly interesting growth market, which we want to strategically expand in the coming years. Changing consumer habits such as online grocery as well as healthy, protein-rich diets are trends in the food market that are successfully served by Honest Catch."
Dr Bert Wecker, co-CEO at Oceanloop, added: "The Oceanloop platform technology developed by neomar and Sander Holding sets new standards in land-based aquaculture. The technology has been successfully trialled at Förde Garnelen for the farming of saltwater shrimp, with the invention and development of the Urban Mangroves being a significant milestone, enabling the scalability of the technology today. We are pleased to be a part of the Oceanloop Group now, which best connects the competencies in technology, plant operations and commercialisation to make the vision of sustainable land-based shrimp farming in Europe a reality.
Dr Wolf Hoffmann, co-CEO of Oceanloop and associate partner at Rigeto Unternehmerkapital added: "At Oceanloop, we want to contribute to scaling the leading technology in land-based shrimp farming, and at Honest Catch we want to profitably leverage our e-commerce know-how with our network. As Rigeto, we are proud to actively shape the sustainable business approach of Oceanloop and Honest Catch."