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Ocean Beauty and Icicle Seafoods announce merger

 

Ocean Beauty Seafoods LLC and Icicle Seafoods, Inc. will be merging their wild salmon and Gulf of Alaska groundfish operations effective June 1, the two companies announced in a joint-statement on Friday, May 29.

Both companies will each own a 50 percent stake in the new company, which will be called OBI Seafoods LLC. The company looks to modernize processing facilities and combine marketing product expertise. The merger has been in the works since the fall of 2018, said Mark Palmer, president and CEO of Ocean Beauty Seafoods, in a statement to the Pilot.

All five Icicle shoreside plants and all five Ocean Beauty shoreside plants in Alaska are a part of the merger, according to the joint-statement. Additionally, Ocean Beauty and Icicle Seafoods’ Gulf of Alaska groundfish operations and all salmon operations will operate under the newly formed OBI Seafoods LLC. Ocean Beauty Seafoods’ smoked salmon and distribution operations will remain under its current ownership and operate under the name OBS Smoked & Distribution, LLC.

“The Alaska salmon business is experiencing significant market and resource fluctuations,” said Palmer. “In order to flourish in this rapidly changing environment, we need to develop flexible and efficient business models and form innovative partnerships.”

The Ocean Beauty plant in Petersburg will not be a part of the merger, said Palmer in a statement to the Pilot. While the plant is still owned by Ocean Beauty, it was sold last year and is currently in the sales process. The local Ocean Beauty house, bunkhouse and warehouse are a part of the merger, however. The bunk house will be used by Icicle Seafoods to house incoming cannery workers this summer that need to be quarantined.

Palmer will serve as the CEO of OBI Seafoods LLC. John Woodruff, chief operating officer of Icicle Seafoods, will become executive vice president of Alaska operations for the new company, according to the joint-statement.

Ocean Beauty Seafoods LLC was founded in 1910 and is owned by the Bristol Bay Economic Development Corporation and a group of individual owners. As one of the largest seafood processors in the nation, Ocean Beauty Seafoods has plants and distribution facilities throughout Alaska and the Western United States. It also has offices in Tokyo.

While Icicle Seafoods was first founded in 1965, it has been owned by the Cooke family since 2016. The company employs thousands of workers at their operations across Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Icicle Seafoods also has a long-term supply contract with Evening Star Fisheries, which owns and operates the company’s floating groundfish processor and a permanently moored craft used by Icicle Seafoods. The Cooke family of companies operates out of New Brunswick, Canada.

 

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