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Firming Bolton – Tri Marine Alliance Step To New Acquisitions?

The Bolton Group, Europe’s largest branded tuna company, has last night announced its purchase of a stake in Tri Marine International, a world leader in the global tuna industry. Bolton which has its financial headquarters in the Netherlands but principally is an Italian owned company, is besides canned tuna also highly successful and profitable in consumer products for care in the household, health and beauty segment. The company is primarily focused on the premium branded price segment, and still privately owned. Bolton has no presence in the US canned tuna market, the leading country importing this product.

Map Of Bolton Group’s International Presence
With a strong position in Europe, Bolton Group owns the Italian market leading brand, Rio Mare, and the German tuna market leader, Saupiquet, which also takes second place in the French branded tuna segment. Bolton, however, has a very minor share in the UK market.  The cash-rich consumer-products group could be seen as a potential future buyer of Princes Group's tuna activities, which is currently owned by Mitsubishi. This would solidify its position as Europe’s canned tuna leader.

A spokesperson from Princes said: “Princes is a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi corporation. Neither Princes or its businesses are up for sale. There is no agreement between Princes and The Bolton Group regarding an acquisition.”
At the end of April 2012, Bolton, also bought 40 percent shares of Calvo Group, Spanish canned tuna leader. Besides getting access through this acquisition to Europe’s largest consuming canned tuna market, it also gave Bolton access to the huge Brazilian market through Grupo Calvo’s “Gomez da Costa” brand, and several other South American tuna markets.
Tri Marine has market presence all over the world, and for years has been a sourcing partner for Bolton Group. Not only does Tri Marine source raw material tuna for Bolton’s production, it also supervises the processing of frozen pre-cooked tuna loins for Bolton Italian canneries and the outsourced canned product processing activities in South America, Africa and Asia.
By taking a strategic share in Tri Marine, Bolton has displayed its determination to solidify this agreement with the company that sources almost all the tuna raw material for its brands. This forward integration will ensure Bolton of a continuous supply of raw material for its factories in order to produce its tuna brand products. The strategic importance of Tri Marine for the Bolton Group became so great that it left Bolton with no option but to take an important share, but at the same time leave the management and structure of Tri Marine intact.
Although Bolton currently has no market presence in the US, Tri Marine, with its new cannery under construction in American Samoa, is in the position of becoming a major supplier to the US canned tuna market in the near future.
The combination of the two companies will create a group which also has extensive fishing activity through its own fleet; global trading capacity of raw materials; and an infrastructure to supervise outsourced canned tuna production as well as several of its own factories. Bolton is likely to have created a strategic platform by which it can further expand its very strong global brand portfolio.
The next likely steps for the collaboration will be to gain a stronger grip on the UK and US market, but both with a focus of branded tuna products at a premium level.