Vengrowth Private Equity Partners Inc.

Vengrowth Private Equity Partners Inc.

January 09, 2008 10:24 ET

VenGrowth Funds Invest in Great Lakes Fish Corporation

VenGrowth investment backs consolidation to create Great Lakes; a market leader in Canada's freshwater fish industry

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 9, 2008) - VenGrowth Private Equity Partners Inc. and its affiliates ("VenGrowth"), a leading private equity firm with over $1 billion in assets under management, today announced a $6 million investment in Great Lakes Fish Corporation ("Great Lakes"). The financing was completed by the VenGrowth Traditional Industries Group.

The VenGrowth Traditional Industries Fund Inc., The VenGrowth III Investment Fund Inc. and VG Mezzanine I Limited Partnership provided a subordinated loan to facilitate the acquisition by Great Lakes of the assets of Omstead Foods Limited's fish division, along with the assets of South Point Foods Inc., a Leamington, Ontario-based fish processor. The VenGrowth investment includes an equity position in Great Lakes.

Following completion of the acquisition of the Omstead and South Point assets, Great Lakes will be one of the largest North American processors of freshwater fish, with long-standing, strong, customer relationships with large U.S. and Canadian-based food service providers. In particular, the Omstead fish business, established over 100 years ago, brings its strong reputation to Great Lakes.

"Our investment in Great Lakes highlights our continuous desire to work with proven entrepreneurs," said John Neate, Director at VenGrowth. "The partnership forged between Jerry and John Peralta, Omstead, Albert Testa, Michael Hillhouse and L.R. Jackson Fisheries Ltd., brings together over 100 years of combined Lake Erie fish processing experience. Jerry and his team are well positioned to successfully grow the business and expand it into new markets."

"For some time now, we've been looking to partner with a food and/or food-related business to enhance our portfolio of traditional industry holdings," said Neate. "Not only does Great Lakes fit this goal, the company is also set to benefit from strong consumer demand for fish, as research continues to tout its health benefits."

"VenGrowth's hands-on approach and creativity has been instrumental in making this deal happen," said the President of Great Lakes, Jerry Peralta. "Great Lakes is now primed for growth, which it plans to achieve by forging new partnerships to increase market share."

About VenGrowth Traditional Industries Group

VenGrowth Traditional Industries Group specializes in financing solutions for mid-market Canadian companies in traditional manufacturing and services industries that are expected to generate sustainable cash flows. The Group primarily invests using debt instruments with the objective of generating interest and dividend income to participating VenGrowth Funds. In addition, the Funds will typically hold equity interests alongside the loans with the intention of generating long-term capital appreciation. Formed in 2003, the Group had invested over $130 million into 18 companies as at January 1, 2008. The Group is led by Graham McBride, a highly regarded mezzanine financing expert with over 20 years of experience.

About VenGrowth

With over $1 billion in assets under management, VenGrowth is Canada's largest private equity and venture capital firm managing both retail and institutional assets. Since 1982, VenGrowth's accomplished private equity managers have invested over $1.3 billion in almost 200 companies, building a strong track record of successful portfolio transactions. These investments have been made on behalf of over 180,000 individual investors and leading pension funds, banks, insurance companies and family foundations. Portfolio companies benefit from VenGrowth's substantial experience, resources, and hands-on investment style. VenGrowth's offices are located in Toronto (Corporate Headquarters) and Ottawa. For more information, please visit

About Great Lakes Fish Corporation

Close to key export markets in the U.S., Great Lakes Fish Corporation is located in Wheatley, Ontario, the heart of Ontario's fresh fish industry. Following the acquisition of assets from Omstead and Southpoint, the company will be a leading fish processor in Canada. Strategically positioned to expand, Great Lakes will be able to easily integrate additional processing operations and capacity.

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