Farm Ireland

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Lisavaird nets a tasty deal in seafood sector

A WWF member cycles to produce power to recharge her phone at the Generation Climate pavilion at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 in Paris. Reuters/Jacky Naegelen
A WWF member cycles to produce power to recharge her phone at the Generation Climate pavilion at the World Climate Change Conference 2015 in Paris. Reuters/Jacky Naegelen

Farmers have rarely been credited with a fondness for the sea but Lisavaird Co-op has turned that notion on its head.

The West Cork dairy processor is acquiring a majority stake in Glenmar Shellfish, a fish processing firm based in the port of Union Hall.

The news comes in the same week that an 11pc increase in employment levels were predicted for the farming, forestry and fishery sectors during the first quarter of 2016.

This is three percentage points higher than the average across the whole economy, and the biggest year-on-year growth for the farming, forestry and fishing sector since 2007.

However, the proposed transaction is subject to approval by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The acquisition would be Lisavaird's first venture into the maritime sector but the move was described by co-op general manager, Pat Moriarty, as being consistent with the co-op's overall investment strategy.

Mr Moriarty pointed out that the business was local and located just 16km from the co-op's main base near Clonakilty.

He would not comment on the purchase price but local sources put the figure at between €4m and €5m.

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He accepted that investing in fish processing was a change of tack for the dairy but said the deal continued Lisavaird's focus of investing in the food sector.

The co-op is already involved in milk processing with neighbouring dairies in the Carbery Group, as well as liquid milk with Clóna Dairy.

Lisavaird also has interests in a bakery business in Bandon and cooked meats operation at Hospital, Co Limerick.

Glenmar Shellfish is owned by the company's managing director Mel Bendon and two other shareholders and has worked out of Union Hall for close to 30 years.

It processes prawns, brown crab, scallop, razor clams, lobster, squid and white fish from over 70 Irish-owned vessels.

The Irish operation includes processing and distribution centres in Union Hall and Dublin. Glenmar also has a presence in South Africa, sourcing product for the local and export markets.

Mr Moriarty confirmed that the current management team at Glenmar will continue to run the business.

Commenting on the deal, Mr Moriarty said: "This investment will allow us to further diversify our business interests and establish a presence in the seafood sector.

"We are happy to have the opportunity to invest in such a well-managed and successful business, and we look forward greatly to working with the team in Glenmar."

Mr Bendon said he was delighted with the agreement and that the business was bought by a locally-owned concern.

"I look forward to leading Glenmar within the Lisavaird group," said Mr Bendon.

"We have built a strong and profitable company in Glenmar, and I believe that our customers, suppliers and staff will benefit greatly from the additional support and guidance that Lisavaird will provide as we continue our growth."

Lisavaird has around 260 suppliers and a milk pool of close to 90m litres. Last year the co-op made €2m on sales of €70m. The Carbery group has consistently paid the highest milk prices in the country in recent years.

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