Premium Brands adds seafood holdings in record year

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Major holder of salmon names, Premium Brands notches new record year, seafood acquisitions

Vancouver-based Premium Brands Holdings Corp., a major producer and distributor of specialty brands, sandwiches and seafood, including salmon, has posted a record fourth-quarter EBITDA of CAD 47.3 million, which is up 3.7 percent year-on-year as revenues soared.

Management said revenues accrued to CAD 585.4 million, or up 10 percent over the same three months of 2016. The revenues and the EBITDA were adjusted for the purchase of four more businesses, as Premium continued to grow by acquisition.

After acquiring help to grow in the Toronto area earlier 2017, Premium made the fourth-quarter acquisition of Frandon Seafood, a Quebec-based distributor of fresh and frozen fish, food services and retail goods in the greater Montreal area.

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“Frandon will play a key role in the Company’s … expansion into the seafood product category,” a communique said.

Premium Brands paid CAD 266.5 million for four new companies in the quarter. All are expected to add to earnings in 2018.

Cash-rich, the company owns 19 distributors and 28 brands and still has reserves of CAD130 million for potential sprees of more household names. Its salmon, its brand holdings are many and grouped in its “premium” division with names like Diana’s Seafood, Ocean Miracle Seafood, Maximum Seafood and Premium Seafood.

Last year, the company said it would re-evaluate its approach to seafood after poor pink and sockeye salmon harvests. SalmonBusiness had asked about farmed fish without reply.

More growth
Rather, its new course appears to be retail-Quebec seafood earnings, although Frandon is well-positioned to take salmon from Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

For all of 2017, Premium said its sales had reached a record CAD 2.2 billion, or up 18 percent over 2016. Adjusted EBITDA increased by 23 percent to CAD 190.2 million.

Premium, a bellwether company for food, said it was alarmed by high employee turnover rates and labour shortages across North America.

“In particular, very tight labour markets across North America created unusual operating challenges for many of our businesses as well as those of our supply chain partners,” company leadership said.

Despite the fuss over labour, Premium is projecting 2018 to be another record year with sales of CAD 2.7 billion.