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Alaska salmon processor sells minority stake to Dongwon

Fishing vessels of Silver Bay Seafoods' fleet. (Photo: Silver Bay Seafoods)

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015, 02:30 (GMT + 9)
Salmon processor Silver Bay Seafoods, based in Sitka, Alaska, has transferred a twelve percent of its stake to Korean giant Dongwon, owner of Starkist Co.
The shareholding sale to Dongwon will provide Silver Bay with funds to access the canned seafood market, while Dongwon will have a greater weight in the salmon market.
In fact, according to Silver Bay CEO, Rich Riggs, since 2007, the company has purchased 130-million pounds of salmon, KCAW reported.
The Alaska fisherman-owned firm has become public in last November. It was founded by 35 fishermen, and now they are over 300.
Although the sale has reduced each fisherman's ownership stake, nothing will change with the processor, Riggs stated.
"Not a single fisherman-owner goes away. It's just a dilution. The management team will stay the same. We'll add two board seats, at least one of which will be a fisherman seat. Otherwise, mechanically from the outside it's the same company, just stronger," he emphasized.
The new seats will go to StarKist senior management.
Silver Bay has already built new plants in Craig and Naknek, a buying operation in Puget Sound, a herring plant in San Francisco, and it will soon launch a squid processor in Ventura, California.
The company is now seeking to obtain approval to purchase or lease the remaining facilities of a former pulp mill in Sitka to expand its local operations.
The expansion in Sitka is nominally a USD 8-million project for fish canning.
“We've got canning equipment that's going in, retorts, bright stack, new loading dock, new boiler room, and this is all going on right now,” the company's leader added.

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