Norwegian food group Rieber & Søn has signed an agreement to divest its marine savoury business.

Arctic seafood ingredients company Seagarden ASA has acquired the business, the company said today (17 November). Rieber & Søn however will be, as part of the agreement, a 20% shareholder in Seagarden.

"The divestment is a part of Rieber & Søn's strategic platform "Our Future" reviewing and focusing on what is core business," the company said. "Rieber & Søn's business platform is to develop branded consumer products for the food service and retail markets, and the marine savoury business refining raw material ingredients to industrial partners is not considered core."

Rieber & Søn said it believes that an owner already focusing on marine savoury and bio-active ingredients is "better suited to drive growth in the business".

The divestment is expected to give a positive net gain of NOK20m (US$3.6m) in Rieber & Søn, which the company expects will be taken as one-off item in the fourth quarter.

The marine savoury business will gradually be relocated to Seagarden's production facilities with a completion date of the fourth quarter of 2010 expected.

The transaction will include inventory, production equipment and technology, and distribution channels for all marine savoury ingredient product ranges.