The Icelandic Group has completed the sale of Belgian fish processing subsidiary Gadus to fish supply company Steinasalir, which is owned by a consortium of Icelandic businesses.

The news a deal between the two parties was on the cards came in April this year when the companies announced the signing of a purchase agreement. The sale is part of Icelandic Group’s ongoing stated strategy in which it announced two years ago it wanted to sell all its seafood businesses by 2019.

The existing management of Gadus will continue to work with the new owners, along with 130 workers.

Gadus, based in Nieuwpoort in Belgium, processes around 7,000 tonnes of product each year, mainly salmon and cod, and sells directly to retailers and wholesalers in the country. The company’s total revenue in 2016 was EUR83m, making it the second-largest processor in the Belgian fresh fish market.

Steinasalir is owned by established Icelandic seafood companies, including Saemark Seafood, Fishproducts Iceland and Akur, an Icelandic based private-equity fund. The buyers aim to boost sales and marketing of high-quality seafood in the Belgian and central European markets.

In addition to providing further support to Gadus, Steinasalir said it would “work towards ensuring the interests of the Icelandic fishing industry in its marketing of high-quality seafood on a global basis”.

Herdís Dröfn Fjeldsted, the chairman of The Icelandic Group’s board and CEO of its owner, the Enterprise Investment Fund, said: “Icelandic Group acquired Gadus in 2012 with the primary aim of opening up a new market area for Icelandic seafood products. Direct ownership of Icelandic seafood companies in Gadus is a very positive step, providing further opportunities to promote the image and value of Icelandic seafood in Central Europe. We congratulate Steinasalir on the acquisition.”

Sigurður Gísli Björnsson, CEO of Saemark Seafood, added: “Gadus is a very exciting investment opportunity to grow internationally. A key aim for us is to ensure that the Icelandic seafood industry continues to possess a whole value chain from catch to consumer. Direct access to consumer markets is an important component to maximise the value of Iceland’s resources.”

In May, UK-based seafood imports company Seagold, a subsidiary of Icelandic seafood company Samherji announced it had bought an Icelandic Seachill deli site, which was put up for sale after it was closed last March with the loss of up to 86 jobs.

The deal was unrelated to plans, announced by The Icelandic Group a month earlier, to sell its UK fish products operations Icelandic Seachill, owner of The Saucy Fish Co. brand.