YOUNG’S, Britain’s largest seafood business, is about to get a Canadian owner

The Eight Fifty, which includes Grimsby-based Young’s and pork producer Karro, has agreed to become part of Sofina Foods on the other side of the Atlantic. The sale figure has not been disclosed.

Young’s and Karro were brought together Young’s Seafood owner sold to under one umbrella two years ago by the international private equity firm CapVest Partners.

Young’s, which employs more than 2,000 people in Grimsby and Scotland, is also a major buyer of Scottish farmed salmon and has a production centre near Edinburgh making ready seafood meals for Waitrose.

Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers and has a 25-year history of acquisitions, growth and success.

Sofina Foods is one of the country’s leading manufacturers of primary and further processed protein products for both retail and foodservice customers.

Its brands are staples in Canadian households and include Cuddy; Lilydale; Janes; Mastro; San Daniele; Fletcher’s, Vienna and Zamzam.

Sofina Foods currently operates 21 different sites and employs approximately 5,000 people.

Eight Fifty is a leading supplier of both branded and own-label seafood and pork. The pork division is one of the largest processors and suppliers of products across the UK and Ireland. The seafood division is the largest provider of chilled and frozen products across the UK, including the Young’s brand, and is a major player in frozen seafood across Germany and France.

The Eight Fifty business will remain under the leadership of Di Walker and will complement Sofina Food’s existing leading North American platform. As Europe’s multi-protein specialist, Eight Fifty will continue to provide sustainable, high-quality food products while focussing on growth.

Jason Rodrigues, Partner at CapVest, said: “We’ve created a leading European multi-protein business through a combination of strategic investment in our core asset base and complementary acquisitions of fantastic national champions.

“Eight Fifty delivers best-in-class products to our customers and consumers and we are all very proud of what Di Walker and her team have achieved over the last four years. We’re confident that Eight Fifty will continue to flourish under Sofina Food’s ownership.”

Di Walker, CEO of Eight Fifty, said: “We began this journey as a UK-only pork supplier doing less than £500 million in sales and after several years of transformational organic and acquisitive progress are now the European multi-protein specialist with over £2 billion in sales.

This transaction and the interest in Eight Fifty is a great reflection on the quality of the business and testament to the work that CapVest and our entire management team have completed. We’re very excited to join Sofina Foods to deliver on their ambitious future growth plans.”

Michael Latifi, Founder and Executive Chairman of Sofina Foods, said: “As a leading Canadian multi-protein specialist, this acquisition allows Sofina Foods to continue on our path of ambitious expansion.

Based in Markham, Ontario, Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers and with a broad portfolio of fish, meat and poultry products, it has created a solid global foundation for continued growth.

He added: “With a history of excellence in food production and processing spanning over 25 years, the strong brands of Eight Fifty Food Group align perfectly with our prominent brands and our shared future vision.”

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