Bregal scales up seafood company with Hygrade acquisition

Since forming Blue Harvest in 2015, Bregal Partners has pursued a vertical integration strategy through strategic acquisitions.

Bregal Partners-backed Blue Harvest Fisheries has acquired Massachusetts-based seafood processor and distributor Hygrade Ocean Products for an undisclosed sum.

Since forming Blue Harvest from eight Virginia scallop vessels acquired from the Peabody Corporation in 2015, Bregal Partners has pursued an acquisition growth strategy that has increased the size of its fleet, established a presence in the North Atlantic and expanded downstream into processing and distribution.

The company now lands, processes and distributes scallops, blue-fin tuna and swordfish through operations in Virginia and Massachusetts. It hopes that by becoming vertically integrated, the company can also ensure traceability, an increasingly important consumer concern.

“By vertically integrating, Blue Harvest can now provide its customers with greater product traceability, quality assurance, and variety,” said Blue Harvest chief executive Jeff Davis. “The acquisition of Hygrade is consistent with our strategy of building a vertically integrated premium seafood company.”

Hygrade freezes, processes and packages cod, scallops and pollock, among other species.

In March Blue Harvest acquired rival Harbor Blue Seafood, nearly doubling the size of its fleet and adding a Massachusetts processing facility to its portfolio.

Bregal Partners is Switzerland-based Bregal Investments’ debut North America-focused fund, which is also invested in US-based American Seafoods. The fund closed on $500 million in June 2012, and raised a second tranche on $100 million in 2015 according to PEI Research & Analytics, investing in mid-market energy services, food and retail and healthcare businesses.