Portobello Capital acquires frozen seafood company

Madrid-based private equity investor Portobello Capital has acquired a majority stake in Spain's Iberconsa.

Spanish private equity firm Portobello Capital has acquired a majority stake in frozen seafood supplier Iberconsa.

Iberconsa specialises in fishing and processing squid, shrimp and hake and is the world’s largest catch and on board processor of frozen hake. The company also runs a network of retail stores in the Spanish region of Galicia, operates a fleet of ships in Argentina, Namibia and South Africa and has processing plants in Argentina and Namibia.

“We are very excited to take part, together with the management team and the founding families, in this new stage of Iberconsa’s development. Both in the fish capture and marketing areas, there are big opportunities for consolidation and growth. Thanks to the consumption trends and its nutritional quality, [consumption of] fish protein is growing significantly,” Juan Luis Ramírez, a partner at Portobello Capital, said.

The size of the investment was not disclosed but a spokeswoman for the firm told Agri Investor Portobello has taken a “very large” controlling stake in the company.

The chief executive of Iberconsa, Alberto Freire, said that the deal will enable Iberconsa to become “a platform” for consolidating seafood companies. Freire separately announced that the company will invest up to €27 million in its Argentine and Namibian operations.

Portobello Capital controversially spun out from rival Spanish private equity investor Ibersuizas in 2010 after Ibersuizas dismissed four executives. This move triggered the “key-man” clause and facilitated the transfer of Ibersuizas’ two funds to the dismissed executives, who formed Portobello.

The investment in Iberconsa is Portobello’s fourth from its first fund raised since the spin-out, a €375 million vehicle which closed in August 2014. While not a specialist food investor, the firm has struck a number of deals in the food sector, including buying Spain’s largest ice cream manufacturer, Valencia-based Ice Cream Factory.