JOHANNESBURG - Fishing company Sea Harvest said on Wednesday a consortium of broad-based black economic empowerment investorsl led by itself had reached a deal to acquire the fishing business of, and selected shareholdings in Viking Fishing for nearly R885 million.

Viking Fishing operates a fleet of 30 vessels from Cape Town, Hout Bay, Mossel Bay, Durban and Maputo and catches, processes and markets hake, horse mackerel, small pelagics (pilchards and anchovy), west coast rock lobster, prawns and tuna pole.

"Following its listing on the JSE on 23 March 2017, Sea Harvest has actively sought to grow via acquisitions in the fishing and aquaculture sectors in line with the company’s strategy and vision of becoming one of the largest black owned diversified global seafood and food companies," Sea Harvest said.

"The acquisition of the Viking Group fits the group’s investment criteria and Sea Harvest is confident of the value that a combination of Sea Harvest and the Viking Group would generate."

It said the proposed acquisition would significantly increase black ownership in the fishing industry due to the strong transformation credentials of Sea Harvest and ensure the preservation of 1,600 jobs, 90 percent of which consisted of historically disadvantaged individuals, particularly in the ports of Mossel Bay, Saldanha Bay and Cape Town and the rural communities of Kleinzee and Gansbaai.

- African News Agency (ANA)