Cooke Seafood/Canada buys Icicle Seafoods
From Seafood.com/Peggy Parker —
Canada’s Cooke Seafood has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Icicle Seafoods from Paine and Partners. They will keep the Seattle-based company intact, including all Alaska operations and aquaculture facilities in Washington and Chile. The purchase of Icicle follows Cooke Investments in Chile, and the purchase of Wanchese Fish Co., a major scallop producer, in North Carolina.
“The Icicle team is excited about the opportunity to join the Cooke family of companies and to be able to focus on the expansion of our footprint in Alaska,” says Christopher Ruettgers, CEO of Icicle Seafoods, Inc. “Cooke provides Icicle with a long-term owner that is dedicated to the seafood industry.”
Like Icicle, Cooke Seafood began as a family run business. Cooke Aquaculture was started by three members of the Cooke family in 1985 in Kelly Cove, New Brunswick. Icicle Seafoods began when Bob Thorstenson formed a group of fishermen to buy out the Pacific American plant in Petersburg, AK in 1965, renaming it Petersburg Fisheries which eventually became Icicle Seafoods.
Both companies have deep ties to seafood and operations in small coastal communities: Icicle in Larsen Bay, Egigik, Wood River, Seward, and Petersburg, AK and Cooke Aquaculture in small coastal towns in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia.
Best of all, according to many Icicle executives, it will keep the company together. There will no changes in staff or plant operations.
“The partnership with Cooke also means access to capital to further modernize our platform, expanded market access for the products harvested by our fleets and a broader product offering for our customer base,” says Ruettgers.
Once closed, the deal will enhance the Cooke family’s investments in both the wild fishery and the aquaculture sectors, making them leaders in the US salmon farming sector and a major player in the Alaskan salmon fishery.
The deal is expected to close in less than 30 days.
“The closing of this deal will be an exciting venture for us as it will add a well-respected fishery to our family businesses,” said Glenn Cooke, President of Cooke Seafood Inc. “We have tremendous respect for the Alaska fishery and its highly valued brand in the seafood marketplace. Our family and our business is rooted in a small coastal fishing town on the east coast of Canada and we have become a mainstay to communities in rural and coastal Maine. We look forward to meeting with similar communities in Alaska and supporting them for the long-term.”
The deal will include Icicle’s three business units, which harvest and process over 150,000 metric tonnes of seafood annually: wild salmon, groundfish and farmed Atlantic salmon.
By adding the Atlantic salmon farming operations in Washington State to its current operations in the State of Maine, Cooke will be able to strengthen its leadership role in the United States aquaculture sector. It will also become the only company in the world that farms salmon while holding a significant market position in wild salmon.
With a worldwide network of cold storage and distribution facilities, Cooke will be able to offer a large portfolio of seafood protein from the ocean – both farmed and wild – to a broad base of customers in the global marketplace. Because of Icicle’s diversification across a wide array of species and product forms, Cooke’s global sales team will be able to provide customers with year-round access to fresh seafood: wild salmon, black cod, pollock, rockfish, crab and farmed salmon in addition to fishery products from the Wanchese Fish Company.
The transaction is consistent with the Cooke family’s focus on vertical integration and diversification in terms of geography, products and markets.
Icicle Seafoods, Inc. will provide another platform for growth within the capture fishery. The Cooke family’s strategy has been to achieve growth through acquisitions and organic growth in the seafood sector that is both sustainable and responsibly managed to meet market demand.
With the acquisition of Icicle Seafoods, Inc. the Cooke group of companies will produce over 275,000 metric tons of seafood annually and generate $1.8 Billion in annual sales.