Umami Sustainable Seafood completes Baja Aqua Farms acquisition

Industry Database

Umami Sustainable Seafood Inc has completed the acquisition of Baja Aqua Farms, Mexico's leading producer of bluefin tuna.

In July 2010, Umami acquired a 33% interest in Baja along with an option to acquire an additional 66.98%. Umami exercised its option and the transaction closed with the result that Baja is now a 99.98% owned subsidiary of Umami.

Completing the Baja acquisition, Oli Steindorsson, Umami's chairman, said the deal was a "milestone achievement” for his company.

“Combining Baja with our existing Croatian operations positions Umami as one of the world’s leading producers of bluefin tuna.

“We are confident that owning a leading production platform adjacent to one of the world's key markets for premium tuna will facilitate greater access to that marketplace as well as strengthening our company's global reach.

“In addition to doubling our annual production of northern bluefin tuna, the completed acquisition of Baja should increase our global market share of this premium food to over 20%. The corporate synergies and expected operating efficiencies from the merger with respect to marketing and distribution should help create cost savings and improved operating margins.

“Moving forward, our goal is to seek additional strategic acquisitions to complement our existing operations in Croatia and Mexico to help build market share," Steindorsson said.

Vilhelm Gudmundsson, Baja’s CEO, said both companies have been leaders in pursuing a sustainable production model for Northern bluefin tuna.

Umami also owns and operates Kali Tuna, an established Croatian-based aquaculture operation, raising Northern bluefin tuna in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea.

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