Silver Bay Seafoods taking over Peter Pan Seafoods’ Alaska operations

"If anyone can pull this off, it is Silver Bay."
Peter Pan Seafoods' processing plant in Valdez, Alaska, U.S.A.
Peter Pan Seafoods' processing plant in Valdez, Alaska, U.S.A. | Photo courtesy of Peter Pan Seafoods
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Silver Bay Seafoods has acquired Peter Pan Seafoods’ seafood processing facility in Valdez, Alaska, U.S.A. and will operate its other Alaska plans in 2024.

The agreement, announced 4 April, will see Silver Bay operate Peter Pan’s Port Moller and Dillingham facilities for the 2024 season, and then acquire them after the season ends. With Peter Pan’s closure of its King Cove plant in January 2024 and no announcement that it will reopen by summer, the company will effectively have no physical plant remaining in the state of Alaska. Additionally, it has agreed to transfer the licensing for its Demmings, Humpty Dumpty, and Double Q canned salmon brands to Silver Bay.

In a joint press release, the two companies said their transaction is “still being finalized,” but that they “have been exploring ways to unify the operations, and what started as a possible joint venture in early 2023 has resulted in a mutually beneficial transaction involving a transfer of the facility assets and licensing for the iconic Demmings, Humpty Dumpty and Double Q canned salmon brands.”

Peter Pan Seafoods COO Travis Roenfanz said Peter Pan is committed to closing out remaining business pertaining to its 2023 operations, including sales and accounting functions. Peter Pan has faced a series of liens filed by Alaska fishermen and companies for unpaid deliveries of seafood. It has also dealt with the departure of several key executivesincluding CEO Kevin Bixler in January 2024, vice president of manufacturing and product development Michael De Caro in March 2024,  president of Alaska operations Jon Hickman in March 2023, and executive vice president of sales Rich Wolverton in September 2022.

“Peter Pan's decision to pursue selling the Valdez plant and combine Alaska operations with Silver Bay came from our commitment to put our fleets, employees, and communities first,” Roenfanz said. “When there are inefficiencies in this industry, it affects the livelihoods of our fleet and we have a responsibility to maintain those livelihoods. We’re excited about this acquisition and what it will do for this fishery.”

Silver Bay Seafoods President and CEO Cora Campbell said the acquisitions will “allow fishers to benefit from improved services and the fish to be processed closer to the point of catch, further enhancing the quality of the pack and the diversity in product forms.”

“Silver Bay is adapting our operations and thoughtfully advancing our Alaska programs to ensure we continue to bring the most value to our fishermen partners and remain resilient in changing markets,” Campbell said. “We appreciate Peter Pan’s leadership in understanding that for the Alaska seafood industry to remain competitive in a global marketplace and continue to support viable coastal economies, we must pursue synergies and efficiencies in our Alaska processing operations.”

The two companies’ plants in Valdez are adjacent, though Peter Pan’s is the only plant in the port on Prince William Sound that processes fresh, frozen, and canned salmon, allowing Silver Bay to broaden product form capabilities and markets, according to Silver Bay COO Branson Spiers said.

“This acquisition of the Valdez cannery will create synergies between the two neighboring facilities and offer more product form diversity, which is a priority for Silver Bay Seafoods and our fishermen partners,” Spiers said.

The plants owned by Peter Pan in Dillingham, Port Moller, and King Cove produce sockeye salmon that is also produced in the plants owned by Silver Bay in False Pass and Naknek.

Sitka, Alaska, U.S.A.-based Silver Bay Seafoods is a fishermen’s cooperative that has grown to operate nine processing facilities in Alaska and the U.S. West Coast, processing frozen salmon, herring, whitefish, and squid products for domestic and export markets.

Both companies said they are “committed to a seamless transition and ensuring minimal disruption to fishermen, communities, and employees.”

Rodger May, who could not be reached for comment on the sale, acquired Peter Pan in 2021 from Japanese seafood conglomerate Maruha Nichiro. The current ownership group includes Northwest Fish Co., the McKinley Alaska Private Investment-managed Na’-Nuk Investment Fund, and the RRG Global Partners Fund.

Larsen Mettler, the managing director of S2G Ventures’ oceans and seafood investments and previously the chief financial officer of Silver Bay Seafoods and director of KeyBanc Capital Markets’ seafood investment banking portfolio, said, "if anyone can pull this off, it is Silver Bay."

"They can execute on the operational side and have historically had remarkably good luck on the uncontrollable factors. If this happens again over the next two years, the gain in the company's valuation will be unprecedented," he told SeafoodSource on 5 April. "Success occurs when …

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