Pelagia acquires UK-based Ideal Foods

The Norwegian pelagic fish company has acquired 100% of the shares of the British company specialized in supplying fish, seafood, and co-products to a global market.
Now owned by Pelagia, Ideal Foods is a specialist trader supplying fish, seafood, and co-products, including salmon, where Mowi is one of its by-product suppliers.

Now owned by Pelagia, Ideal Foods is a specialist trader supplying fish, seafood, and co-products, including salmon, where Mowi is one of its by-product suppliers.

Photo: Siv Grure / Ideal Foods / Pelagia.

Norway's Pelagia has acquired a 100% stake in Ideal Foods and its subsidiaries. With similar operations and business lines - both offer fish products for direct consumption but are also suppliers of ingredients, either for human food or for feed - the new Norwegian owner has said it intends to continue the line developed so far by the British company, while further developing the synergies between the two.

Pelagia has also said the change will have minimal impact on Ideal Foods' existing management and team, ensuring continuity of service for all of the British seafood company's customers and suppliers. What has already taken place, however, is a replacement at the top of the company.

According to the website of Companies House - the UK Government company information service - the change at the top of Ideal Foods has already taken place and, along with the resignations of the previous management team, there are the appointments of Magnus Egil Strand as COO Food, Rolf Kristian Vaage as CSO Food/Feed, Michael McEllone as Financial Director and Frank Trearty as Company Director.

Mowi, among the suppliers of Pelagia's new subsidiary

As said, Pelagia's plan with Ideal Food's acquisition is to develop synergies between the two companies. A producer of pelagic fish products for human consumption and a major supplier of essential fish and animal feed ingredients - protein concentrate, fishmeal, and fish oil - through its subsidiary Epax, the Norwegian company also produces concentrated omega-3 fatty acids of marine origin for dietary supplements and pharmaceutical preparations.

Based in Cornwall, UK, Ideal Foods is, for its part, an established and successful trader specializing in the supply of fish, seafood, and co-products to a global market with three main lines of business. Channel to China is an export service focused on helping UK food and drink companies sell in the Asian giant. Purely Fish offers a range of dog treats and pet foods made from fish. Finally, its subsidiary Ideal Nutritional Foods is a B2B supplier specializing in fish products to a number of leading baby food manufacturers.

To develop these last two lines of business, Ideal Foods works closely with fish processors and manufacturers to use marine co-products in an innovative way that aims to leverage all the material and ultimately add value. Among its suppliers is Mowi, the world's largest producer of Atlantic salmon, after the two companies signed a supply agreement in 2020.

At that time, Ideal Foods said the partnership with Mowi - which provides it with fish by-products such as salmon heads, bellies, and collars - would allow the company to continue on its growth trajectory and would be able to increase its stock availability by up to an additional 5,000 tons per year.

Investing in sustainability through by-product treatment

Meanwhile, Pelagia makes no secret of its ambition to become the aquaculture industry's best partner in solving challenges related to all types of by-products, and this seems evident from its company acquisition policy. Ideal Foods is not the Norwegian company's only acquisition so far in 2024. In early February, it announced that was reinforcing its commitment to the environment and sustainability by becoming the majority shareholder of Blue Ocean Technology following a private placement.

Specializing in technical solutions for the dewatering, concentration, and drying of sludge generated by the aquaculture industry, Blue Ocean Technology has also come a long way in the development of technology for greater value creation from this residue. As in the case of Ideal Foods, by becoming a majority shareholder, Pelagia sought synergies between the two companies.

That is something that Arve Janbu Fresvik, Blue Ocean Technology's Chairman of the Board, also emphasized at the time of the agreement. "Strategically, Blue Ocean Technology and Pelagia fit very well together. We possess expertise in complementary areas within sludge resources, and together we become a very powerful unit. This applies not only in Norway but also internationally," he said.

Earlier, in March 2022, Pelagia - which in turn is 50% owned by Austevoll Seafood and Kvefi - had bought NFI, which owns 51.05% of fishmeal and fish oil producer Karmsund Protein and 51% of Husoy Eiendom Karmoy. The same year, in December, the company also acquired 100% of the shares of Norwegian pelagic by-product wholesaler Aquarius, previously majority-owned by Hordafôr, of which Peligia had also acquired full ownership in 2021.

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