Austevoll unloads Epax to new joint venture


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 2, 2010

Aker BioMarine ASA on Thursday announced that through a partnership with Lindsey Goldberg LLC it acquired a 100 percent interest in fish-oil supplement manufacturer Epax Holding AS from Austevoll Seafood ASA for NOK 561 million (USD 91.9 million, EUR 71.4 million). The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Epax will become part of Trygg Pharma, a new 50-50 joint venture company established by Aker BioMarine and Lindsey Goldberg, a New York-based private investment firm. In addition to Trygg Pharma, Natural Nutrition Development Ltd. AS, also a wholly owned subsidiary of Aker BioMarine, will fall under the new joint venture company. Lindsay Goldberg will pay up to NOK 280 million (USD 45.9 million, EUR 35.6 million) for the 50 percent stake in the company.

Aaron Kramer was appointed CEO of Trygg Pharma.

“Epax truly represents the finest of Norway’s fish oil manufacturing traditions,” said Kramer. “We believe that the omega-3 supplement market will continue to have strong global market growth, and Epax is very well positioned in the premium [fish-oil supplement] segment.”

Aker BioMarine and Lindsey Goldberg plan to immediately invest in expanding the capacity of the Epax production facility in Ålesund, Norway, as well as improve the Trygg Pharma production facility in Hovdebygda, Norway.

“Epax is fortunate to get an owner that will invest significantly in people, products, processes and technology in Ålesund,” said Bjørn Refsum, who is currently CEO of Epax and will become managing director of Epax and executive VP of manufacturing for Trygg Pharma. “I am impressed with the technology and people at Trygg Pharma, and I am certain that we are stronger together than by ourselves. The planned capacity expansion means that our customers can rest assured that Epax will be able to grow with them in the future.”

As part of the relationship between Trygg Pharma and Austevoll Seafood, Epax entered into a long-term supply agreement for crude fish oil with Austevoll subsidiary Austral SA.

For Austevoll, the sale of Epax, which it had owned since 2007, represents an opportunity for the Norwegian company to focus on its core businesses — pelagic fishing, salmon and trout farming and seafood processing and distribution.

“A sale of Epax must be considered a strategically sound solution for Austevoll Seafood ASA, Epax and their employees,” said Austevoll CEO Arne Møgster.

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