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High Liner Foods eyes Icelandic Group

by Robert Hirtle

 Just three weeks after Lunenburg-based High Liner Foods closed a $31.5 million deal on Viking Seafoods Inc. of Malden, Massachusetts, the company has set its sights on yet another formidable seafood supplier.

 Company president and CEO Henry Demone announced last week that his firm has made an unsolicited offer to acquire Reykjavik, Iceland-based Icelandic Group for 340 million euros.

 "Icelandic Group is a leading seafood supplier in Europe and one of the largest suppliers of value-added seafood to the U.S. food service market under the well-respected Icelandic brand," Mr. Demone said in a press release.

 "The addition of the Icelandic line of products to our existing line of food services would make High Liner the leader in the sale of value-added seafood to the U.S. food service market and an even stronger partner for our customers."

 Icelandic Group is comprised of an international network of independent companies, each operating in its own market in the production and sale of seafood products.

 Operating processing plants in Germany, France, the United States and United Kingdom, the company also controls marketing companies in Spain and Japan as well as procurement companies in Iceland, Norway and China.

 Current owners of the company are presently engaged in negotiations with a single European private equity firm and have indicated they will not engage in any negotiations with other parties until later in the month.

 As a result, there is no assurance that High Liner's offer, which includes 170 million euros for current equity interest and the assumption of another 170 million euros in debt, will be considered.

 If successful in its bid, High Liner would integrate Icelandic Group's U.S. operation into its U.S. division and would assess strategic options for non-U.S. assets.

 The purchase would be financed through a combination of its existing asset-based working capital facility, new long-term debt and equity.



posted on 01/11/11
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