Bregal Partners shells out for scallop harvester

The acquisition of Blue Harvest’s Massachussetts fishing fleet is part of Bregal Partners’ vertical integration and growth strategy for the scallop harvester and processor.

Bregal Partners-backed scallop company Blue Harvest Fisheries has acquired rival Harbor Blue Seafood for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition of Harbor Blue’s seven Massachusetts-based scallop vessels nearly doubles the size of Blue Harvest’s fleet to 15 boats, and gives the company a base on the US North Atlantic coast. The deal also includes Harbor Blue’s shoreside assets, which include a processing plant on New Bedford harbor in southern Massachusetts.

Bregal Partners formed Blue Harvest after acquiring its eight Virginia-based vessels from the Peabody Corporation in April last year.

Blue Harvest chief executive said the Jeff Davis added that the company plans to continue a strategy of vertical integration and growth. “We expect to continue to expand our product portfolio and to further invest in other parts of the seafood value chain.”

Bregal Partners is the debut North America-focused fund of Switzerland’s Bregal Investments. The fund closed on $500 million in June 2012, and raised a second tranche on $100 million in 2015 according to PEI Research and Analytics. The fund invests in mid-market energy services, food and retail and healthcare businesses. The fund also counts US-based American Seafoods among its portfolio companies.

Scallops were the fifth highest seafood species landed in the US by value in 2013. New Bedford enjoyed the highest valued catch in the US in 2014, at $328.8 million for 140 million pounds.