Finland-based food company Apetit today (29 June) announced a deal to sell its seafood businesses in its domestic market, Norway and Sweden to Norwegian seafood group Insula.

Apetit, which wants to focus on vegetable-based foods, said the agreement was structured as “a business transfer” in Finland and a share transaction of its Maritim Food Group division in Norway and Sweden. Apetit will continue to be a minority shareholder in the Finnish unit, holding less than 20% of the business. Financial details would not be disclosed, Apetit said.

Juha Vanhainen, Apetit’s CEO, said: “Apetit Group’s aim is to become the leading vegetable-based food solutions company in the market. As a part of this evolution, we have been seeking a capable and professional partner to take responsibility of the strategic development of our seafood business. I’m confident, that as the core business in Insula AS, our seafood business will be able to step up to the next level. This will benefit our customers, as well as our personnel in Finland, Sweden and Norway. We believe strongly in this opportunity based on our view that Insula AS is one of the most innovative and customer-oriented seafood companies in Scandinavia.”

The company’s seafood arm comprises the Apetit Kala Oy fish processing business in Finland and Maritim Food Group in Norway and Sweden. Apetit Kala manufactures salmon and rainbow trout fish products. Maritim Food Group produces fish and shellfish products in Norway and Sweden.

In 2016, the net sales of Apetit’s seafood business were EUR87.8m, up 6% on 2015, although it made an operating loss of EUR600,000. In 2015, the unit made an operating loss of EUR3.8m. The division employs 82 staff in Finland, 71 in Norway and 15 in Sweden.

Norway-based Insula also operates in Sweden and Denmark. The acquisition of Apetit’s seafood business will see Insula enter the Finnish market. Insula, set up in 2015 and is owned by seafood-focused investment fund Kverva. Insula’s net sales in 2016 were NOK2.4bn. It employs 800 staff.

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Insula CEO Sigvald Rist said: “Finland has high seafood consumption and we see this agreement as a great opportunity to both learn more about and, at the same time, develop the Finnish seafood market further. This agreement also supports our aim to strengthen our seafood operations in Sweden and Norway.”

The completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of the Norwegian competition authorities. Apetit expects to complete the deal during the third quarter of 2017.