Sea Harvest is acquiring Viking Fishing Holdings, while Sea Harvest Aquaculture is buying 51% of Viking Aquaculture.Photo: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)
JOHANNESBURG - Fishing company Sea Harvest Group and a consortium of black-owned companies have entered into a transaction to acquire the fishing businesses of the Viking Group for R885 million.

The share price leapt 10.66percent to close at R13.50 on the JSE yesterday.

Sea Harvest is acquiring Viking Fishing Holdings, while its subsidiary, Sea Harvest Aquaculture, is acquiring 51percent of the issued share capital of Viking Aquaculture.

The parties said they expected the transaction to close on July 2.

Sea Harvest chief executive Felix Ratheb said the parties had agreed on a purchase price of R885m, which was to be satisfied through a combination of cash on hand, bank facilities, an issue of Sea Harvest shares and vendor funding.

“The transaction has been approved by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, and the Competition Commission has recommended to the Competition Tribunal that the transaction be approved with a condition of non-sharing of information between shareholder-related entities,” Ratheb said.

Sea Harvest listed on the JSE in March last year, raising R1.33billion in the process.

The leading frozen fish brand in South Africa in retail, with a 36.7percent market share and food service, first announced its intention to acquire the Viking Group in December last year.

Ratheb added that, post the group’s listing in 2017, they had been looking to grow the business through an acquisition in the fishing and aquaculture space.

“The Viking Group is a very com- plementary business and the joining of these two organisations allows us to diversify into other species and create a truly global diversified fishing company which will now include aqua- culture,” he said.

The group said the assets being acquired as part of the transaction were situated across various locations in South Africa, Namibia and Mozambique and comprise fishing rights, vessels, fish-processing facilities, aquaculture farms, including the biological assets and working capital.

Black-controlled and managed investment holding company Brimstone owns 54.9percent stake in Sea Harvest. The black economic empowerment (BEE) consortium includes three small, medium and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs), which are SeaVuna Fishing Company, Nalitha Investments and the South African Fishing Empowerment Corporation.

The group said Nalitha Investments and South African Fishing Empowerment Corporation were new entrants to the fishing industry and were wholly black-owned.

Sea Harvest and Viking will jointly provide funding of R124m to the BEE consortium.

Sea Harvest chairperson Fred Robertson said Sea Harvest was pleased to promote SMMEs and the establishment of new entrants into the fishing sector and would assist them with funding, vessels, skills and access to markets to ensure they were successful.

“The transaction has many benefits. Apart from significantly increasing black participation and ownership in the fishing industry, it will ensure the protection of jobs, particularly in the areas of Saldanha Bay, Mossel Bay and Cape Town, and along with the rural communities of Kleinzee and Gansbaai,” Robertson said.

-BUSINESS REPORT