Sealaska sells Orca Bay, buys IceMar and AG Seafood
Juneau, Alaska-based Sealaska has purchased two Icelandic seafood companies and sold Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based Orca Bay Seafoods.
Sealaska, an Alaska Native Corporation, facilitated the merger of Orca Bay Seafoods with Odyssey Foods in 2017. In a press release, Sealaska said the company was being sold back to Orca Bay’s previous owner, Phil Crean, “for the next phase of its journey.”
In a 1 October announcement, Sealaska also said it had acquired Keflavík, Iceland-based IceMar, a sales and marketing business for premium seafood sourced from Iceland, as well as Sandgerdi, Iceland-based AG Seafood, which processes cod, haddock, and flatfish caught in Iceland.
Sealaska said the acquisitions “bring access to Iceland’s quality and rigor” and were completed “as part of its work to foster ocean health by growing demand for delicious, sustainably-sourced seafood.”
“We’re in seafood because it’s a powerful way to care for the oceans,” Sealaska Chief Operating Officer Terry Downes said. “Ocean-based foods have a fraction of the carbon footprint of land-based proteins. And the rapid growth of the chilled category proves it is a key path to consumers’ tables.”
IceMar majority owner Gunnar Orlygsson, who founded the company in 2003 and AG Seafood in 2008, along with co-owner Arthur Galvez, will continue to operate both companies.
Sealaska’s investment in Iceland’s IceMar and AG Seafood builds on its acquisition of New England Seafood (NESI) in October 2020, to further strengthen its focus on consumer-centric, premium, chilled fish and seafood. The move grows its capacity to provide globally integrated, world-class processing and food from the world’s best-managed fisheries, but they will be integrated into the larger business network of New England Seafood International (NESI), a supplier of fresh and frozen premium seafood based in Chessington, Surrey, United Kingdom, which was purchased by Sealaska in November 2020. NESI “will play an active role in the development of the businesses,” according to NESI CEO Dan Aherne.
“We’re thrilled to turn NESI’s nearly 20-year relationship with these two companies into a more formal partnership,” Aherne said. “Iceland has a rich heritage as a fishing and fish-processing nation with some of the best products anywhere. We are eager to help bring more of them to the rest of the world.”
Orlygsson said the partnership is “an exciting opportunity for the Icelandic companies to strengthen their services and access new markets in Europe and North America.”
“We’re proud of our world-class fisheries and seafood processing capabilities,” he said. “Contributing to healthy oceans is vitally important to us, and our premium Icelandic offerings are certain to do that. It’s also wonderful to team up with our friends to combine our passion for seafood.”
Downes, Orlygsson, and Galvez have not yet returned emailed requests from SeafoodSource for additional details on the deals.
Aherne and Downes previously told SeafoodSource Sealaska would seek to grow its access to resources, broaden its product and category capabilities, and deepen its market access.
Photo courtesy of Sealaska