Benchmark set in £227m fish food deal

INVE aquaculture accounts for 20 per cent of the global market in shrimp hatchery diets
INVE aquaculture accounts for 20 per cent of the global market in shrimp hatchery diets
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Sheffield animal specialist Benchmark Holdings has snapped up a Dutch fish food company for £227m to create a ‘global leader in aquaculture technology’.

The Chapeltown company will acquire INVE Aquaculture Holding B.V. in a deal that will hand the enlarged goup a sales boost, a bigger sales, marketing and distribution network and the chance to develop new products.

A spokesman said INVE had 40 products in development with little duplication with the Benchmark’s existing pipeline.

Malcolm Pye, Benchmark chief executive, said: “The acquisition makes Benchmark a global leader in the aquaculture technology market overnight.

“Aquaculture is not only a multi-billion dollar sector but one of the fastest growing in the food industry. Importantly, we believe the teams at Benchmark and INVE share a common ethos and culture.

“Both companies have a history of working collaboratively with partners to develop technologies, and both have a drive to address one of the most pressing issues of our time in developing a healthy, sustainable food chain.”

Philippe Léger, chief executive of INVE, said: “Benchmark’s toolbox of health and genetics solutions will complete INVE’s current offering in advanced nutritional and health products. Together we will become a unique knowledge and solutions platform that supports our customers in taking better care throughout the culture lifecycle.”

In July, Benchmark bought two fish-farming specialists for £11m to target one of the fastest growing sources of protein in Latin America, the tilapia fish. It is believed to be the fourth most popular seafood in the US, behind only shrimp, salmon and canned tuna.

Benchmark was founded in 2000 by Malcolm Pye, Roland Bonney and Ruth Layton and in 2001 launched a groundbreaking centre for agricultural research and development, called the Food Animal Initiative. It moved into aquaculture in 2004 and then animal health products, launching a treatment for sea lice.