US private equity firm invests in troubled Bell Aquaculture

Indiana-based vertically integrated, land-based fish producer restarts operations under a new entity with fresh funding.

US private equity firm Trive Capital Partners announced Monday it acquired all assets of Indiana-based fish farming company Bell Aquaculture in late 2016.

Bell operates one of the world’s largest recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), and was most recently in the headlines over its financial troubles, which included a lawsuit over its debt

With the new financial backing, and in partnership with Bob Davis, CEO at Bell, the company will restart its operations and reorganize under the new entity Bell Fish Company LLC.

Trive said it was first introduced to the company after Bell Aquaculture "experienced an emergency event that caused it to temporarily cease operations."

After this event, Bell Aquaculture sought financial "support to restructure its operations and finances while it pursued its insurance claim."

Bell Fish Company rebuilt its operations and "made significant changes, assembling a management team with proven aquaculture experts in key leadership positions as well as upgrading the facility with enhanced system redundancies," Trive said in a statement.

Bell Fish Company is now harvesting and delivering high-quality steelhead trout.

“Trive’s investment and their continued support has enabled Bell to re-establish itself as a leader and innovator in the US aquaculture industry, and to capitalize on our first-mover advantage to expand our operation rapidly to meet growing customer needs," Davis said.

"The company is well-positioned to benefit from supply constraints the market is currently facing by offering a domestic solution for sustainably-raised fish.”

Chris Zugaro, partner at Trive Partner, said the fund was "excited to see the company fully functioning after experiencing a significant setback in 2015."

Trive Capital is a Dallas, Texas-based private equity firm investing in equity and debt securities with approximately $900 million (€834.9 million) in capital under management.

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