Trident-Wrangell deal completed

One week after Trident Seafoods called off its planned acquisition of bankrupt seafood processor Wrangell Seafoods (WSI), an Alaska bankruptcy court yesterday approved the sale for the previously agreed-upon price of USD 4.35 million (EUR 3.22 million).

According to court documents, the Seattle supplier will operate the salmon cannery in Wrangell, Alaska, in June. WSI, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in mid-January, has sought new ownership for two years and, without outside financing, would have been unable to operate the plant for the upcoming salmon season.

Trident had hoped to close the sale by 20 March in order to ready the plant in time for the summer harvest.

The deal almost didn't happen. On 12 March, Trident President Paul Padgett wrote to WSI chairman Douglas Roberts that WSI failed to disclose that a labor union - the United Industrial, Service, Transportation, Professional and Government Workers' Alaska Fisheries Division - had accused it of violating the National Labor Relations Act and WSI failed to respond to the complaint in a timely manner.

Trident was informed that it may inherit the complaint should the purchase of WSI go through, but the two sides were able to negotiate an agreement.

According to the court document, as an additional condition to Trident's obligation to close the deal, Alaska Growth Capital agreed to pay Trident USD 700,000 (EUR 530,000) to "address issues arising out of the inability of [WSI] to close the proposed sale."

WSI processes primarily salmon but also handles king, tanner and Dungeness crab, shrimp, halibut, roe herring, rockfish and sea cucumbers at its facility in Southeast Alaska. It was held by more than 20 shareholders representing a cross-section of the seafood industry, from fishermen to local businessmen.

Trident maintains a fleet of 30-plus fishing and at-sea processing vessels and a network of more than a dozen land-based processing facilities, stretching from Newport, Ore., to St. Paul Island, Alaska, in the Bering Sea.

Trident generated more than USD 1 billion (EUR 757 million) in sales in 2007 and was ranked the No. 2 seafood supplier in North America on SeaFood Business' Top 25 list last year. This year's list will be released in the upcoming May issue of SeaFood Business.


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500