Detroit-based Huron Capital today announced equity investments in Aquamar Inc. and LM Foods to form Aquamar Holdings, a new seafood platform. Aquamar Holdings will produce and sell crab-flavored seafood to food service, manufacturing, and retail channels throughout North America.
Based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Aquamar was co-founded in 1991 by company president Hugo Yamakawa, vice president of operations Taka Iwasaki, and a former partner. Aquamar produces both frozen and refrigerated products, most of which are sold under the Aquamar brand name. The company is a leading manufacturer of shred style surimi in North America, selling to restaurant and food service customers and major retailers. Yamakawa and Iwasaki will stay on as leaders with Aquamar Holdings and will serve on its board of directors.
LM Foods was founded in the early 1990s and is based in Carteret, New Jersey. The company primarily produces frozen, private label surimi seafood, offering premium, select, and value products to its customers and selling premium products under the Classic Bay brand name. LM Foods CEO Mark Olivito will lead the new platform and also serve on the board of directors. Iwasaki, Yamakawa, and Olivito will be significant shareholders in the new platform, in partnership with Huron Capital.
“Our firm has a history of investing in food and beverage markets,” says Mike Beauregard, senior partner at Huron Capital. “Seafood consumption in North America has been rising for several years and we think the surimi seafood market is a stable and attractive sector.”
Olivito says Aquamar and LM Foods have complementary capabilities that will serve as a growth platform moving forward. “We believe having manufacturing facilities on both U.S. coasts will enable us to serve our customers better and continue to expand the combined business,” he says.
Since its founding in 1999, Huron Capital has raised more than $1.7 billion in capital through six committed private equity funds and invested in more than 170 companies.