Angulas Aguinaga sold by Portobello Capital to private equity firm PAI Partners

Published on
November 10, 2020

Irura, Spain-based Angulas Aguinaga, which operates well-known seafood brands in Europe, including La Gula del Norte, Krissia, and Aguinamar, has been acquired by European private equity firm PAI Partners.

Portobello Capital, which purchased a controlling stake of Angula Aguinaga in 2006, will retain a minority stake in Angulas Aguinaga, along with the company’s founding family. Collectively, those two entities will hold a 49.9 percent stake in Angula Aguinaga after the transaction closes. Terms of the deal were not announced, and it is subject to regulatory approval.

Angulas Aguinaga, which recorded EUR 220 million (USD 260 million) in sales in 2019, focuses on the refrigerated fish and seafood convenience and ready-meals markets. Through its La Gula del Norte brand, it helped to popularize surimi-based products in the 1990s, and did the same with crab sticks sold through its Krissia brand in the 2000s. Over the past decade, its has also had success with its Aguinamar brand, which markets value-added shrimp, mussels, octopus, salmon, and other seafood products.

In its five-year strategic plan released in 2020, Angulas Aguinaga set a goal of reaching EUR 450 million (USD 531 million) in sales by 2025, using a strategy of innovation and expansion into new markets. Last May, Angulas Aguinaga launched its Professional brand for foodservice, with the goal of increasing that part of its business from 12 percent of company sales to 20 percent by the end of 2020. In January, it purchased a majority stake of Riunione Industrie Alimentari, a marketer of smoked salmon, swordfish, tuna, and bottarga in Italy.

In a press release, PAI Partners, which purchased Angula Aguinaga through its mid-market fund, said it hoped to accelerate the company’s growth through additional investment and resource-sharing amongst the other brands it owns. PAI Partners is also a minority owner of French value-added seafood firm Labeyrie.

PAI said it will “contribute its extensive international resources and its long-standing experience in the food market to accelerate this new strategic business plan, supporting the company in the reinforcement of its already well-known brands; in the expansion of its product offering through the launch of new categories; and in its commitment to internationalization, with a focus on Italy and France.” PAI Partners has EUR 13.9 billion (USD 16.4 billion) under management and a focus on France, Spain, Italy, and Germany.

Angulas Aguinaga CEO Ignacio Muñoz said his company’s employees are “very excited about the future that lies ahead” with PAI Partners.

“The partnership with PAI MMF will help us activate a new phase in our development, and we look forward to benefitting from PAI’s extensive experience in the food sector, as well as its international platform,” Muñoz said. “We are grateful that the current shareholders are also staying on board to accompany us on our growth path in the coming years.”

For Portobello Capital, which was founded in 2010 and which has EUR 1.3 billlion (USD 1.5 billion) of assets under management, the sale represents its second step back from the seafood sector in as many years. It sold a controlling stake in Iberconsa, a vertically integrated producer of hake, Argentine red shrimp, and squid, operating fishing vessels, processing plants, and cold-storage distribution facilities, in March 2019.

Photo courtesy of Angulas Aguinaga

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