American Seafoods Group, one of biggest commercial fishing companies involved in the Alaska pollock fishery, has sold their east coast seafood processing business, American Pride Seafoods. The sale to High Liner Foods was announced October 1, 2013. High Liner Foods reportedly paid $34.5 million for this subsidiary of American Seafoods. The American Seafoods sale of American Pride Seafoods marks a departure from the company’s previous sea-to-plate market integration.
American Pride Seafoods is a value-added frozen seafood and scallop processing business with revenues of $190 million reported in 2012. Typical products include breaded seafood products such as fish and chips, frozen seafood, and seafood packaged for use by restaurants and retail food providers. High Liner Foods indicated that they intend to continue to operate American Pride Seafoods at the New Bedford location without any substantial changes at this time.
American Seafoods continues to own six of Alaska’s largest factory trawlers in the Bering Sea, which include: American Dynasty, American Triumph, Northern Eagle, Northern Jaeger, Ocean Rover, and Katie Ann. These vessels have large fish factories on board, with over one hundred crewmembers aboard each. This enables the vessels to catch and process their catch at sea; the fishing vessels target Alaska pollock, Pacific hake, Pacific cod, and yellow fin sole. The American Seafoods fleet of fishing vessels is recognized as one of the largest and most modern in the Bering Sea.
This is the second recent major deal for American Seafoods. In 2010, the company was involved in major refinancing. That deal, in part, involved American Seafoods redeeming all of the Coastal Villages’ outstanding equity interest in American Seafoods in exchange for the pollock catcher-processor Northern Hawk, and the freezer-longliners Lilli Ann, North Cape, and Deep Pacific. Industry sources state that American Seafoods is continuing to seek refinancing of nearly a billion dollars of debt. The current sale comes at a time of a downturn in the market for sales for U.S. pollock.