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Asia300

Thai Union gets fresh crack at North America with Chez Nous purchase

BANGKOK -- Thai Union Group, the world's largest producer of canned tuna, announced Tuesday it will acquire a majority stake in Canadian lobster processor Les Pecheries de Chez Nous.

With antitrust issues forcing Thai Union to scrap its planned acquisition of Bumble Bee Seafood of the U.S. last December, the new deal offers the seafood giant a fresh avenue for expanding in the North American market.

A Thai Union official told the Nikkei Asian Review that the company could not disclose the purchase price until August, when the transaction is scheduled.

Thai Union will acquire processing facilities and other assets from the existing owner, who also serves as CEO of the Canadian company. It will fund the purchase using internal reserves.

Earlier this year, Thai company said it aims to boost sales by $1.4 billion by 2020 through acquisitions. According to Thai Union, annual sales at Chez Nous in 2015 totaled about 50 million Canadian dollars ($38 million).

North America is the Thai company's largest revenue source, accounting for more than 40% of the total. "By acquiring Chez Nous, Thai Union secures an even stronger integration footprint in the North Atlantic lobster category," the company said in a press release.

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