SeafoodSource’s top 5 business and finance stories of 2022
The past year was a tumultuous one for many seafood companies – with some seeing big gains and others dealing with pandemic-related drops in sales.
Like any year, there was no shortage of acquisitions – and also no shortage of questionable activity – as shown by SeafoodSource’s top 5 most-read business and finance stories in 2022.
Number 5: Thai Union Chairman Kraisorn Chansiri, eight others fined for insider trading
Nine of Thai Union’s top officials were issued civil sanctions after an investigation by Thailand’s Security and Exchange Commission revealed they engaged in insider trading of the company’s stock.
Thai Union Chairman and Founder Kraisorn Chansiri was one of the offenders, and the SEC fined him THB 3.4 million (USD 97,500, EUR 92,000), required him to reimburse the SEC’s expenses for the investigation, and banned him from serving as a director or executive of any publicly-traded company in Thailand for 14 months.
Other offenders were Thai Union Executive Director Chuan Tangchansiri, and Chan Hon Kit, the executive director of Thai Union subsidiary Songkla Canning.
Number 4: Kelli Valade resigns as Red Lobster CEO after eight months on the job
In April, now-former Red Lobster CEO Kelli Valade announced her resignation after just eight months in the role, moving on to become CEO of Denny's.
Valade joined Red Lobster in August 2021, after former CEO Kim Lopdrup announced his retirement. Valade was the former president and CEO of Black Box Intelligence and brand president of Chili's Grill and Bar, owned by Brinker International.
“I have truly loved my time here at Red Lobster. This was an incredibly difficult, but necessary, decision,” Valade said in a press release. Her resignation was effective 15 April.
Valade presided over the company during a challenging period that continued after she left. The company posted a USD 12.4 million loss in the third quarter of 2022.
Number 3: Norway proposes 40 percent resource tax on aquaculture operations
A proposal made by the Norwegian government in September for a new resource rent tax on aquaculture, with effect from 1 January, 2023, sent immediate shockwaves throughout the entire salmon-farming industry in Norway.
News of the announcement immediately sent share prices tumbling for publicly traded salmon farmers in Norway, with Mowi, Lerøy Seafood, and SalMar’s stock prices dropping between 15 and 19 percent. Salon companies immediately decried the additional tax, saying it will put a heavy burden on operations.
“The proposal is undoubtedly hostile to the industry,” Lerøy Seafood said in a statement. “If approved, it will have a strong negative impact on the entire industry, unless decision makers at the Storting and people along coastal Norway manage to stop the proposal following the ongoing consultation period."
Details of the taxation scheme are still being negotiated, with a final vote expected in 2023.
Number 2: Couple allegedly steals USD 2.5 million worth of seafood from Key West fish house
A pair of employees at a fish house in Key West, Florida, U.S.A. managed to steal an estimated USD 2.5 million (EUR 2.3 million) in seafood.
Marianela Armenteros, general manager a fish house owned by the Valero-Duran Corporation, was charged with multiple counts of grand theft of more than USD 100,000 (EUR 94,000) and Yamir Gonzalez-Betancourt, assistant general manager, was charged with one count of grand theft more than USD 100,000, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
Armenteros had been putting thousands of commercial stone crab and lobster tags in her name instead of the commercial fishermen, while Gonzalez-Betancourt had exporters buy product directly from him instead of the fish house, the sheriff's office alleged.
Number 1: Seattle Fish Company acquires Denver, Colorado-based meat company
In November Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.-based Seattle Fish Company purchased a regional meat purveyor based in Denver.
Seattle Fish purchased Lombardi Brothers Meats, a specialty meat processor and distributor, with plans to keep the brand separate but partner on customer relations, investments, and distribution. The company’s owners, Victoria and Vance Philips, said the move was made to strengthen the company’s resources and reach.
“Since 1947, Lombardi Brothers Meats has built strong partnerships based on exceptional customer service, top quality product, and pride in our work,” Victoria Philips said. “The investment by Armand Agra, a third-generation family-owned business with deep experience in meat, preserves the rich legacy of Lombardi Brothers Meats while providing the resources, collaboration, and scale to grow our brand.”
Photo courtesy of Thai Union