Cargill’s Acquisition of EWOS will Help it Consolidate its Position in the Aquaculture Business
Aug 17, 2015 | Food and Beverage | Future Market Insights
Agricultural behemoth Cargill Inc. has bought Norwegian fish feed producer EWOS for a staggering €1.35 billion (US$ 1.5 Bn). The deal is being seen as an effort by Cargill to expand its aquaculture business. Currently, the deal is subject to regulatory approval, however, it is expected to close by the end of this year.
The recent acquisition by Cargill will mean that it has access to seven feed manufacturing facilities, based in Vietnam, Chile, Canada, Norway, and Scotland. Cargill will also get control over EWOS’ two research and development centres.
Cargill President and CEO David MacLennan said about the deal, “This transaction, which is significant and the second aquaculture acquisition Cargill has announced in as many months, is a strategic investment in our long-term growth and evidence of our commitment to the growing aquaculture industry.”
Salmon Feed: A Highly Lucrative Segment of Aquaculture Market
Cargill has been eyeing the highly lucrative salmon feed segment of the global aquaculture market for some time now, and the recent acquisition is being seen as a step in that direction. According to Narasinha Varute, Senior Consultant Food & Beverages at FMI, “Cargill is aware about the paradigm shift towards healthy diet, and salmon, with its popularity as a rich source of high protein, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids, is quickly becoming a favourite among consumers. The general positive sentiment towards nutritious, protein-rich food products seems to have driven the acquisition of EWOS.”
Cargill was in the news last month as well, after it announced a joint venture with Naturisa to build a shrimp feed facility in Ecuador. The valuation of the joint venture was to the tune of US$ 30 Mn. Both these developments are expected to make Cargill a dominant player in the salmon feed industry. EWOS produces nearly 1.2 Mn metric tonnes of salmon feed, and the acquisition will make Cargill one of the three biggest aqua-feed producers globally. Skretting AS is the biggest player in the aqua-feed market currently.
Global Demand for Protein Set to Grow by 70% by 2050
Cargill’s recent moves are also aligned with projections that the global demand for protein will grow by 70% by the year 2050. Production capabilities around the world will have to be scaled up drastically to meet such a high demand, and this is where Cargill wants to step in and consolidate its position.
Cargill has bought EWOS from Altor Fund III and Bain Capital Europe III — these two firms had beaten Cargill in 2013 when they bought EWOS for roughly US$ 1.07 Bn. At that time, Cermaq—which originally owned EWOS—had said that they were in talks with a bidder who didn’t wish to be identified, however, the deal finally went to Altor Fund and Bain Capital. Although these firms are letting go of EWOS, they will still have a stake in the fish farming market, through Nova Austral, which is based in Chile.
“It can be said that the decision to acquire EWOS is based on the positive long-term outlook on the salmon sector, and Cargill has done well to identify the enormous opportunities that this sector has the potential to offer in the near future,” concluded Narasinha Varute.