CANADA: High Liner Foods bids for seafood firm Icelandic Group
High Liner has made an unsolicited offer for Icelandic Group, which looks set to become the subject of a takeover battle. FSI, a consortium of pension funds in Iceland that owns Icelandic Group, is in the middle of talks to sell the business to European private-equity fund Triton.
Icelandic Group serves retail and foodservice customers in the US, Europe and Asia. The company does not break down its revenue by channel but says over two-thirds of its sales are generated through "value-added products", mainly own-label seafood sold through retailers like Tesco and M&S.
Some 40% of Icelandic Group's revenue is made in Europe, with 28% in the UK. The company's US sales account for 18% of turnover.
Henry Demone, High Liner's president and CEO, said the company wanted to buy Icelandic Group to boost its presence in the US foodservice sector.
"Icelandic Group is a leading seafood supplier in Europe and one of the largest suppliers of value-added seafood to the US foodservice market under the well-respected Icelandic brand," Demone said. "The addition of the Icelandic line of products to our existing line of food service products would make High Liner the leader in the sale of valued-added seafood to the US food service market and an even stronger partner for our customers."
High Liner said its bid would see the company assume EUR170m of Icelandic Group's debt and offer EUR170m for the firm's shares. The Canadian company plans to integrate Icelandic Group's US operations into its own business in the country. It would then "assess strategic options" for the assets outside the US.
High Liner said the Icelandic brand and the firm's trading divisions may have to be left out of any transaction but insisted it would seek a deal to use the Icelandic trademark on a long-term basis.
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