Aquamar, Inc. (“Aquamar”) and LM Foods, LLC (“LM Foods”) announced they have combined forces to create a new platform in the surimi seafood market, producing and selling crab flavored seafood to food service, food manufacturing, and retail channels primarily in 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 one of the leading manufacturers of shred style surimi in North America, selling to restaurant/foodservice customers and major retailers. Hugo and Taka will remain as influential leaders in the business and additionally serve on the board of directors of the new platform.
LM Foods was founded in the early 1990s and is based in Carteret, New Jersey. LM Foods 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 serve on its board of directors.
“Aquamar and LM Foods have complementary capabilities that we think will fit together nicely and serve as a growth platform moving forward,” said Olivito. “Having manufacturing facilities on both U.S. coasts will enable us to serve our customers better and continue to expand the combined business.”
This transition secures both companies’ futures by creating a larger, thriving, growing organization that will provide greater scale, more cost-efficient operations, and expanded sales and distribution channels. Likewise, customers will benefit from the company’s ability to further improve quality and product innovation while offering the most complete portfolio of products on the market.
“As a co-founder, joining forces with LM foods is an exciting partnership and next step for our business,” said Yamakawa. “With seafood consumption continually rising, the new platform will offer the most innovative and wide-ranging selection of surimi seafood products for our customers.”
Together, the organizations’ sell seafood products across the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America under owned and licensed brands, and as a private label manufacturer for other market participants. The company will continue to operate their facilities in California and NJ with plans to invest significant capital in both locations.
Huron Capital, Detroit-based private equity firm, made an equity investment in the platform. In partnership with Huron Capital, Iwasaki, Olivito, Yamakawa and other members of management will be significant shareholders in the new platform.