UK-based Sykes Seafood acquired the trading assets of The Big Prawn Co. on Jan. 28, adding to its already sizeable shrimp portfolio that includes Dutch giant Klaas Puul and UK wholesaler Ruskim Seafoods.

The Big Prawn Co. is a UK-based business that specializes in the supply of shrimp and shellfish to the retail and foodservice sectors.

Together with Sykes Seafood, Klaas Puul and Ruskim, the deal for Big Prawn Co. creates a $550 million (€504.2 million) pan-European shrimp focused seafood business that will offer products across the retail, wholesale, industry and foodservice sectors, said the group.

The combined businesses will operate six manufacturing sites across the UK, Europe, and Morocco, as well as 10 distribution centers across the UK and Europe, employing more than 4,000 people.

In late 2021, Sykes reached a deal to acquire wholesaler Ruskim Seafoods, pushing revenues past $500 million (€446 million).

Ruskim is a leading supplier of seafoods to the UK and Irish wholesale and Asian Foods sector.

For the year ending May 31, 2021 -- the latest available on UK business registry Companies House -- The Big Prawn Co. had a turnover of £34.8 million (€39.6 million/$43.1 million) up almost 5 percent on the year prior.

However, the group posted an operating loss of £153,192 (€174,178/$189,800) in 2021 compared with a profit of £329,429 (€374,558/$408,153) a year earlier, mainly down to challenges and costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, the company said it gained “several” new retail customers during the pandemic, the benefits of which should be seen in the year through May 2023, with an expectation the business will return to, or exceed, pre-pandemic levels of profitability.