Hilton Food Group gobbles up Tesco fish supplier Seachill for £81m

Helen Cahill
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Cod's Back On The Menu At The Peterhead Fish Market
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Hilton Food Group has bought fish supplier Seachill in a £81m deal, the firm said today.

Icelandic-owned Seachill is the second-largest fish supply business in the UK, and it works for the country's largest supermarket, Tesco.

The tie-up will allow Hilton, which works primarily in meat packing, to add a new range of protein to its supply chain and widen its offer to customers.

Read more: Hilton Food Group beefs up profits on back of weaker pound

Hilton said the deal will enhance its earnings in the first year of the acquisition. The firm will partly fund its purchase by issuing new shares, seeking to raise £55.9m.

In afternoon trading, Hilton's share price was up six per cent to 836p.

"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," said Robert Watson, chief executive of Hilton.

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

In August Hilton announced it had signed a deal to supply food to Tesco across central Europe.

As part of the agreement, Hilton will invest €6m (£5.4m) to build a factory in Poland producing sandwiches, pizzas, ready meals and other items. Production will start in the first quarter of 2019, the firm has estimated.

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