Iceland Seafood International (ISI) has agreed to sell its UK division to Espersen, a Danish seafood producer.

The Danish company produces value-added products from factories in Europe and Asia. A significant part of its sales goes into the UK retail market.

At the completion of the transaction, Espersen will own 100% of Iceland Seafood UK.

Bjarni Ármannsson, CEO of ISI said that after “four challenging years” in the UK, the company “has decided to divest the IS UK business with a substantial loss”.

According to the agreement, the sales price for the 100% share is £1,000 ($1,266), meaning that the sales loss of the shares will be £0.3m.

Ármannsson said: “We are confident that this is the right decision for Iceland Seafood as a business. This investment has been a great cost for the company and its shareholders.  It’s been a very tough market during these years, and we have tried with immense effort to turn this around without success.” 

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Ármannsson said that the interests of ISI’s employees and customers are “well served within Espersen AS”.

He added: “And I believe they can use the assets better than we have been able due to their strong position in the UK value-added seafood market.”

ISI had announced the decision to retain its UK business in February, after two failed attempts to sell the operations, some three months after revealing it wanted to exit the UK market.

In December and January, ISI admitted plans to sell a majority stake in Iceland Seafood UK had fallen through. The company had said in November the UK subsidiary was no longer “a strategic fit” and that its performance in the UK had been weighing on its group profits.

ISI’s first-half results were published yesterday. The company said continuing high salmon prices in Q2 had a negative effect on the results of its operations in Ireland and Ahumados Dominguez in Spain.

Group sales of ISI in H1 was €222.3m ($241.9m) which is a 7% increase from 1H 2022, but sales slowed down in Q2, where they were 7.6% down on last year.

Net loss was €15.3m ($16.8m) compared with €2.9m loss in 1H 2022.

Loss from discontinued operation of the UK subsidiary in the period was €13.9m, including impairment of fixed assets of €8.3m related to the divestment of the business.