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18 October, 2017 - 12:15 By Kate Sweeney

£81m catch as Hilton lands fish processor

Hilton Food Group

Hilton Food Group plc in Huntingdon has agreed to pay £80.8 million for Icelandic Group UK Limited (Seachill) – a leading chilled UK fish processor.

It is raising £55.9m through a shares issue to part-fund the deal and the balance will come from a new banking facility of £34m. It expects the acquisition to complete by November 7.

Hilton said the chilled seafood market in Britain had displayed resilient growth – evidenced by a 20-year track record of increasing market value – and the acquisition is expected to be earnings enhancing in the first full year.

Hilton chief executive Robert Watson said: “The processing and supplying of fish and seafood into the UK is an attractive and growing market and one where we see considerable opportunities to build Hilton's business. 

“Our initial discussions with key customers support this view and we look forward to broadening our offering to both our UK and overseas customers alongside our existing meat business.”

Quoted on London Stock Exchange, Hilton’s parent group is a specialist international meat packing business with synergistic business interests, as demonstrated by this new deal.

Grimsby-anchored Seachill has become something of a cult in its specialist market and is a preferred supplier to Tesco among other leading retailers.

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