Seafood companies plan to merge parts of their operations

Comapny shares plans to merge parts of their operations.

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Ocean Beauty Seafoods and Icicle Seafoods Inc. announced plans last Friday to merge parts of their operations under a new company.

The merger, set to take effect Monday, will include Ocean Beauty and Icicle shoreside plants in Alaska, according to a release. Financial terms were not released.

Ocean Beauty and Icicle Seafoods each will own a 50% stake in the new company, OBI Seafoods LLC, the release states. Mark Palmer, president and CEO of Ocean Beauty, will be CEO of the new venture. John Woodruff, chief operating officer at Icicle, will be executive vice president of Alaska operations.

Palmer said discussions about a potential merger started in 2018. It comes as the companies look at ways to best position themselves in the face of market and fish-run fluctuations, he said, noting there is potential among the 10 plants included in the deal to specialize in certain areas.

Palmer said there has been strong domestic demand for canned and frozen products. He said the merger provides an opportunity to “penetrate the best market right now, and we’ll use those returns to drive more innovation and modernization of our facilities.”

Woodruff, in a statement, said as a team “we are confident we can make improvements to benefit employees, fishermen, customers and vendors.”

Ocean Beauty’s smoked salmon and distribution operations will remain under existing ownership. Also not included in the merger are Icicle Seafoods’ operations on the processing vessel Gordon Jensen and the Northern Victor, which is moored at Dutch Harbor, the release states.