Macduff Shellfish Group (“Macduff”), one of Europe’s leading wild caught shellfish processors, has entered into an agreement for 100% of the assets of Macduff to be acquired by Canadian-based Clearwater Seafoods (“Cleawater”) for £98.4m from the Beaton family and Change Capital Partners, the specialist pan-European private equity fund.

Based in Mintlaw, near Peterhead in Scotland, Macduff has factories in Mintlaw, Stornoway and Exeter and owns and operates 14 mid-shore scallop harvesting vessels from its Dumfries facility.  It employs approximately 400 people at the seasonal peak, specialising in scallops, langoustine, whelk and crab. 

Nova Scotia-based Clearwater is one of North America’s largest vertically integrated seafood companies, employing approximately 1,400 people, delivering premium wild seafood including scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, crab and groundfish. 

The deal brings Macduff access to new markets, investment and opportunities for growth.  For Clearwater, the acquisition of Macduff provides access to market leading supply in key markets and channels along with a well-established brand, UK-based harvesting and processing expertise, a strong management team and a talented workforce.

Under the deal Macduff will retain its name and operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Clearwater, sharing resources and best practice between the businesses. Current Chairman Euan Beaton will become President of Macduff and Managing Director Roy Cunningham, will assume the role of Vice President.

Euan Beaton, Chairman of Macduff Shellfish, said:

“Having reached our goal of building a £52m business, we had one suitor in mind which shares our vision and values to enable us to accelerate our growth on a global scale.  With a similar vertically integrated business model, sustainability at its heart, sound employee practices and strong relationships with fishermen but operating on a much bigger scale, Clearwater is an ideal fit for Macduff. 

“This deal is great news for our operations in the UK, bringing investment and access to new markets within an extremely successful and respected business.  It provides learning and development opportunities for our staff as we share best practice with Clearwater and it gives fishermen access to more markets.”

Ian Smith, CEO of Clearwater said, “The acquisition of Macduff brings together two of the world’s leading and fastest growing vertically integrated wild shellfish harvesters. The transaction will allow Clearwater to integrate its vessel management and sustainable harvesting practices, innovative processing technologies along with its global sales, marketing and distribution footprint into Macduff; a company that already possesses a talented management team, excellent resource assets and a strong presence in Europe, the world’s largest and most valuable seafood market.  Our companies have been building a working relationship for more than three years and we are confident Macduff represents a highly attractive investment with a strong strategic fit for Clearwater.” 

Steven Petrow, Partner at Change Capital Partners, said: “When we invested in Macduff in 2011 there was a compelling opportunity to transform the business through international expansion and strategic acquisitions. Thanks to our highly successful partnership with the Beaton family and Management we have delivered on all fronts and are incredibly proud of Macduff’s achievements.  This has been a very successful investment and we are convinced that the next chapter in the company’s history will be very exciting.”

Macduff was advised by Burness Paul, KPMG and Anderson Anderson & Brown.


Lesley Alexander, Smarts, 07968 525783,

Sue Hoyt, Clearwater Seafoods, 00 1 902 457 2319,

Clearwater Seafoods Press Release can be found at


Clearwater is one of North America's largest vertically integrated seafood companies and the largest holder of shellfish licenses and quotas in Canada. It is recognised globally for its superior quality, food safety, diversity of species and reliable worldwide delivery of premium wild, eco-certified seafood, including scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, crab and groundfish.

Since its founding in 1976, Clearwater has invested in science, people and technological innovation as well as resource ownership and management to sustain and grow its seafood resource. This commitment has allowed it to remain a leader in the global seafood market and in sustainable seafood excellence.

Further information is available on Clearwater’s website at


Macduff Shellfish Group (“Macduff”) is one of Europe’s leading wild shellfish processors and is a vertically integrated business, owning 14 mid-shore scallop harvesting vessels and production plants in Mintlaw and Stornoway, Scotland.

The business specialises in scallops, langoustines, whelk and crab, has sales of approximately £52 million and trades globally, employing over 400 people at the seasonal peak.

Macduff has been an active consolidator in the UK fishing sector in recent years acquiring Scott Trawlers, Saltire Fisheries, four vessels and a whelk procurement and distribution business from The Greendale Group and the former Young’s Seafood factory in Stornoway.

The Macduff business was set up in 1985 by the Beaton family, buying and selling live shellfish direct from the fishermen for freight to Europe.  The factory in Mintlaw was bought in 1996 as the company diversified from chilled into frozen shellfish, the mainstay of its current operation.


Founded in 2003, Change Capital is a private equity partnership, dedicated to making investments in consumer-oriented businesses across the European lower mid-market. The firm brings both capital and operational experience to enable brands and retail concepts that have established a distinctive customer proposition to secure the next stage in their development.

The firm has so far deployed c. €440 million through 13 acquisitions across Europe. Its portfolio is diversified by geography, sector and investment holding period.

Change Capital Partners is registered in the UK and is authorized and regulated by the FCA.






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