Mericq buys Gillardeau oyster brand-owner Maison Blanc

Maison Blanc's storefront
Mericq has acquired Maison Blanc, which farms oysters in France and Ireland | Photo courtesy of Maison Blanc
4 Min

Agen, France-based seafood firm Mericq has acquired Maison Blanc, the producer of Gillardeau oysters.

Led by the Gillardeau family, Maison Blanc farms oysters in western France and southern Ireland, and has developed a premium niche for the brand in China. It has fought a prevalence of counterfeiting in China by engraving a “G” in each of its oyster’s shell.

“With this union, Gillardeau … is backed by a leader in the seafood products market to develop its wholesale activity … by improving its competitiveness and the quality of its sourcing,” Maison Blank President Thierry Gillardeau said in a press release.

Gillardeau oysters are also popular at restaurants in Paris, and Mericq President Andre Abadie said he hoped to capitalize on Maison Blanc’s presence at the Rungis International Market in Paris, which supplies an estimated 18 million customers, to push more of the company’s products – such as European blue lobster, langoustine, shrimp, clams, and France-caught fish – to the Parisian market and abroad via exports. Through the merger of the two entities, customers will now be able to order customized products and packaging tailored to their needs, with Mericq providing filleting, deboning, and portioning services.

“By joining forces, Mericq and Maison Blanc demonstrate their ambition to offer a unique offer dedicated exclusively to premium seafood products, on the Parisian and international markets,” Abadie said. “We will pool our logistics resources and our product offering to further increase the satisfaction of our respective customers.”

Mericq had EUR 412 million (USD 440 million) in sales in 2023, while Maison Blanc recorded EUR 38.5 million (USD 41.1 million) in sales, according to La De Peche.

The acquisition is Mericq’s fifth since 2016. It bought Roscoff, France-based crustacean-fishing firm Groupe Béganton in 2016; Blainville-sur-mer, France-based shellfish farmer Kermarée in 2018; Galway, Ireland-based wild-caught shellfish fishing firm Breizon in 2022; and Mariscos Wildomar in 2023.

Abadie said Mericq has worked to position itself as close as possible to both the sources of its seafood – including facilities in Arcachon and Saint-Jean-de-Luz – as well as other ports along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. With access to Rungis, the company is now positioned closer to more of its customers.

“[Our] common ambition is to create a French showcase of the products of the sea ​​​​premium for export,” Abadie said.

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