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High Liner fishes for Icelandic seafood company


High Liner Foods Inc. has made an unsolicited offer of 340 million euros to purchase the Icelandic Group, a seafood supplier based in Reykjavik, Iceland that distributes in the United States and Europe.

The offer by Lunenburg, N.S.-based High Liner comprises 170 million for the Icelandic Group and the assumption of 170 million in debt.

There's no guarantee that the Icelandic Group will consider the offer. The company is apparently for sale and has retained a private equity firm to seek buyers. But it won't consider any offers until Jan. 8.

The 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. In U.S., U.K., France, and Germany, it operates processing plants for value-added products as well as sales and marketing companies selling seafood products. Sales and marketing companies are additionally located in Spain and Japan.

Icelandic also includes procurement companies in Iceland, Norway and China and is involved in primary processing of raw material through the operation of several processing plants in Iceland, China, and Thailand.

"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," said Henry Demone, president of High Liner.

High Liner said it would integrate the Group's U.S. operation into its U.S. division and would assess strategic options for the non-U.S. assets.

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

If successful this would be High Liner's second major acquisition in recent months. In December it acquired Viking Seafoods, a value-added foodservice company based in Massachusetts, for $31.5 million.

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