Tuna

Deutsche See deal takes P&P into the ‘$1.5bn’ club

Parlevliet & Van der Plas (P&P)’s agreed deal for German seafood distributor and marketer Deutsche See, announced on Feb. 13, takes it into the top 15 largest seafood companies in the world as ranked by revenue.

P&P’s revenue for the 2017 financial year reportedly came to almost €850 million, up almost €80m on the previous year. A significant proportion of its catches consisted of shrimp and tuna — two species it had not been processing the year before.

Profit on that reportedly came to €81.78m.

Deutsche See, meanwhile, last reported financial results for the 2015-16 financial year, when it saw sales of €393.6m — up 6%. Consolidated profit for that year was €7.1m, up dramatically from €1.4m the prior year.

Thus, together, it could be expected P&P pushes its top line up towards the €1.25 billion mark — or $1.54bn.

According to Undercurrent News2017 list of the world’s 100 largest seafood firms — ranked by turnover — this would put P&P in fourteenth place, behind Japan’s Chuo Gyorui.

Undercurrent had estimated P&P’s 2017 revenue at $848m, putting it at number 31 in the list; its actual revenue of almost €850m would have placed it a few places higher (depending on currency conversion rates too).

One source — an executive based in the seafood M&A sector — told Undercurrent this deal had come as something of a surprise to him. He had heard Deutsche See had been “struggling financially” for the past couple of years, but did not know they were looking to sell.

The firm did, however, note its decision to sell came when one of the two owners — Egbert Miebach — “fell seriously ill last year”.

“This step was really hard for us, but [comes] because of the tragic personal and family situation of Egbert,” said fellow co-owner Peter Dill.

Deutsche See, based in Bremerhaven, employs over 1,700 people in 22 locations throughout Germany, supplying 35,000 customers in food retailing and foodservice, as well as company and social catering.

P&P’s acquisition takes it into on-land whitefish processing for the first time; previously it operated at-sea processing vessels, via a joint venture with Iceland’s Samherji, UK Fisheries

In 2016, P&P acquired a majority stake in French tuna fishing fleet Compagnie Francaise du Thon Oceanique. Diek Parlevliet, CEO of P&P, told Undercurrent the deal was a strategic one for the company, which took it into a much larger and more global sector than, say, pelagics for human consumption, the core of the P&P business.

“It is a bigger business in the fishing sector. So, we have been looking for a number of years. This is very much a strategic deal. It fits into our portfolio,” he said.

The move into tuna added a “fifth column” to P&P’s business, Gorjan Nikolik, senior analyst for aquaculture, seafood and fisheries for Rabobank, told Undercurrent.

Before that, P&P bought Dutch shrimp processor Heiploeg International in 2014, in a deal few saw beneficial synergies in at the time. This was not the first time it had acquired a company facing financial troubles, and it may not be the last; it is also said to be an interested party in the sale process of China Fishery Group’s Peruvian anchovy assets. 

Parlevliet, speaking to Undercurrent on Feb. 13, declined to comment on this. He did say the firm continued to look for M&A opportunities both upstream and down.

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