Cargill Inc. has agreed to purchase Norwegian fish feed supplier EWOS, one of the world’s largest suppliers of feed and nutrition for farmed fish, for $1.49 billion as part of a company effort to invest in the growing aquaculture industry.

Cargill has entered into an agreement with Altor Fund III and Bain Capital Europe III to acquire EWOS, a company that produces 1.2 million metric tons of salmon feed each year. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close before the end of the calendar year. EWOS, founded in 1935, operates in four of the world’s major salmon farming regions: Norway, Chile, Canada and Scotland. It has also entered the feed market in Vietnam.

“This transaction, which is significant and the second aquaculture acquisition Cargill has announced in as many months, is a strategic investment in our long-term growth and evidence of our commitment to the growing aquaculture industry,” says David MacLennan, Cargill president and CEO.

The acquisition is the second Cargill investment in the salmon market and aquaculture in the last month. In early July, Cargill announced a $30 million joint venture with Naturisa to build a shrimp feed facility in Ecuador.

As part of the transaction, Cargill says it will acquire seven feed manufacturing facilities: three in Norway and one each in Chile, Canada, Scotland and Vietnam, as well as two state-of-the-art R&D centers located in Norway and Chile.

“EWOS is a winning company,” says Sarena Lin, president of Cargill’s feed and nutrition business. “Adding its industry-leading talent and capabilities as well as its thought leadership in sustainable business practices will be transformational for our aquaculture nutrition business. We are looking forward to welcoming 1,000 highly talented and passionate EWOS employees to the Cargill animal nutrition team, strengthening our R&D capabilities and accelerating the pace of innovation to drive strategic long-term growth for Cargill’s animal nutrition business.”

Einar Wathne, CEO of EWOS, says adding Cargill’s resources and global reach will propel EWO to provide “world-class, innovative products and solutions to the global aqua industry.”

The acquisition adds to Cargill’s existing aquaculture businesses in Mexico, Central America, China, United States, Southeast Asia, India and Ecuador. EWOS is expected to contribute complementary expertise and leadership.

 “With the need for protein expected to grow by 70 percent worldwide by 2050, farming fish and shrimp offers one solution to meeting this demand, and Cargill intends to play a major role in this growing and important market,” Lin says.