Sealord, a joint venture between Māori-owned Moana New Zealand and Japanese seafood company Nissui Corp, has agreed to buy Independent Fisheries, making it the country’s biggest seafood business.
The deal would see Sealord acquire about 46,000 metric tonnes of fishing quota from Christchurch-based Independent Fisheries, adding to its own 110,000 tonnes.
This move will surpass Sanford as the country’s leading holder of fishing quota.
Sealord will gain more than 500 vessel crew and staff, two owned and one chartered deepwater factory fishing vessels, and a cold storage facility through the acquisition.
Sealord chairperson Jamie Tuuta said the investment was based on a strong belief in the business, the long-term sustainability of New Zealand’s commercial fishing sector, and the ability to deliver increased returns to its shareholders, half of whom are Māori.
“Māori have a strong affinity with the moana, kaimoana and fishing,” he said.
“The fisheries settlement allocating iwi ownership of quota, including through the purchase of 50% of Sealord, underpins that cultural value system. This transaction grows iwi quota ownership, enhancing our strong connection with the moana in Aotearoa.”
The deal is subject to approval by the Commerce Commission and the Overseas Investment Office before it closes.
The financial details of the transaction were not released.