Poultry & Meat

Sofina to Buy Eight Fifty Food Group, a Major UK Pork and Seafood Player

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Markham, Ontario, Canada-headquartered Sofina Foods is acquiring the Malton, North Yorkshire, England-based Eight Fifty Food Group from by CapVest Partners (CapVest), an international private equity firm. Terms of the transaction, which is subject to approval from regulatory authorities, were not closed.

CapVest bought Karro Food Group, a leading pork processor in the United Kingdom, in 2017. Two years later it acquired Grimsby, England-hedquartered Young’s Seafood and created the Eight Fifty Food Group. Then in 2020 it snapped up Hamburg, Germany-headquartered AliSa International GmbH, which conducts business in Europe as Greenland Seafood. Eight Fifty has consolidated a number of other protein businesses from across Europe to form what is today a leading European multi-protein specialist.

Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers, ranking among the country’s leading manufacturers of primary and further processed protein products for both retail and foodservice customers. Operating at 21 sites and employing approximately 5,000 people, its brands are staples in Canadian households.

Eight Fifty, which employs upwards of 8,300 people at 23 manufacturing sites, is a major supplier of both branded and private 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 packer and distributor of frozen and chilled products in Britain, including the Young’s brand. It is also a major player in frozen seafood across Germany and France.

The business will remain under the leadership of CEO Di Walker and will complement Sofina Food’s existing North American operation.

Walker stated: “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.”

Jaspm Rodrigues, a partner at CapVest, commented: “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. We’re confident that Eight Fifty will continue to flourish under Sofina Food’s ownership.”

Michael Latifi, founder and executive chairman of Sofina Foods, added: “This acquisition allows us to continue on our path of ambitious expansion. Sofina Foods is one of Canada’s largest food producers and we have created a solid global foundation for continued growth.  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.”

The new company will have over 13,000 employees globally across 44 sites and near $6 billion in annual revenue.