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Marine Harvest scoops up former UK sea bass operation

The salmon giant has a 'specific purpose in mind' for the facility, executive tells IntraFish.

Marine Harvest bought Linnaeus Capital Partners-backed Welsh sea bass farmer Anglesey Aquaculture as part of a strategy to expand its cleaner fish production, a top executive at the salmon farming giant told IntraFish.

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"We think it has a lot of potential," Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland, told IntraFish of the deal.

"It was an attractive acquisition to strengthen the volume of cleaner fish we intend to produce in the coming years, but it will take time to undertake the refurbishment and reconditioning of the unit and come up with a proper plan over the coming months."

The facility will supply cleaner fish to the company's Scottish operations, however at this time he was unable to say what sort of volumes it would produce.

Marine Harvest Scotland also has an ongoing planning application for a new site development regarding cleaner fish in Machrihanish, southwest Scotland.

According to documents filed with UK's Companies House, Kenneth Mcintosh, currently finance director at Marine Harvest Scotland, became director of the former Waitrose supplier Anglesey Aquaculture on Dec. 19.

On the same day, Linnaeus’s Olga Novikova was terminated as a director of the company, as was Vadim Dubrovin.

Novikova became director of Linnaeus Capital Partners, and in turn Anglesey Aquaculture, on Sept. 30, replacing long-term executive Anita Hamilton. Hamilton resigned as both partner and managing director of the private equity group and Anglesey Aquaculture.

A source at Marine Harvest told IntraFish the company would offer more details on the deal "in the very near future."

A second location was identified for the cleaner fish activities, the source said, and the company is communicating with individuals at that group regarding its plans prior to offering full details of the deal.

Photo gallery: Inside Anglesey Aquaculture's seabass operations

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At its peak, Anglesey Aquaculture was selling high quality sea bass to premium retailers including Waitrose and Whole Foods.

The recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) facility includes eight large custom-built tanks with 750 meter-cubed capacity and has an annual production capacity of around 800 metric tons. It is also located in a prime location to exploit the UK and European markets.

The site comes fully equipped with a long-term lease, power contracts and an experienced team, the company said at the time.

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