Blue Harvest, Bregal Partners continue acquisition streak with HyGrade purchase

Published on
March 22, 2016

Blue Harvest Fisheries and owner Bregal Partners announced their second acquisition in two days, with Bregal’s managing partner Scott Perekslis confirming a deal for Hygrade Ocean Products on Tuesday, 22 March.

Hygrade is registered to process cod, flounder, scallop, swordfish and tuna at its 33,000-square-foot facility in New Bedford, Mass., according to its website. Perekslis declined to provide the terms of either deal.

“We signed a definitive agreement to acquire HyGrade Ocean Products. We expect the deal to close in the next several weeks,” Perekslis said in an email. “This deal will give us vertical integration … and will allow us to process and market our scallops. It will also get us into the cod business."

Bregal Partners, a private investment firm that owns Blue Harvest Fisheries, announced on Monday, 21 March the purchase of Harbor Blue Seafood, also in New Bedford. Harbor Blue’s primary business has been scallop fishing, and with the acquisition and its June 2015 purchase of Virginia-based scallop fisher Peabody, Blue Harvest now controls 15 scallop fishing boats.

Perekslis said the acquisitions give Blue Harvest secure access to the U.S. Atlantic sea scallop on the eastern seaboard of the United States.

"The U.S. Atlantic sea scallop is unique. The word gets overused but it's appropriate in this case, as those scallops are very large," Bregal Partners managing partner Scott Perekslis said in an interview with SeafoodSource. "The U.S. is the only place in the world you can get under 10 count per lb., and 10 to 20 per lb. are in abundance. So there really isn’t an aquaculture substitute, and that’s what like about it: It's got high value and there really aren’t any comparisons to it."

The new boats' capacity to catch finfish and Hygrade’s ability to process them will help the company diversify its fishing, Perekslis said.

"We want to expand and diversify into other high-value species, so this transaction dovetails into our broader strategy of becoming more vertically integrated," Perekslis said. "In order to please customers, we need a broader variety of offerings, and while scallops will remain our focus, we want to supplement that with other high-value, high-demand species."

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