South Korea’s Dongwon F&B on Monday announced it has agreed to invest in Silver Bay Seafoods.
A signing ceremony was held at the headquarters of the Alaskan salmon company.
Dongwon F&B is the food and beverages unit of Dongwon Enterprise, which owns US-based Starkist. The group said it plans to maximize synergies in the business through “active exchanges” including of expertise.
Undercurrent News first reported in May that the South Korean seafood and fishing conglomerate was looking to buy a 40% share in Silver Bay.
Silver Bay produces a large amount of pink salmon in Southeast Alaska and Prince William Sound, but the company is currently limited by production lines that only do frozen production.
Dongwon US subsidiary Starkist makes a likely partner for the company, considering it processes skinless boneless in retort pouches using pink salmon, which would be a boon to Silver Bay’s production lines since it currently only freezes.
“If you only freeze, you have to freeze number two [grades] which means you have a lot of quality claims, which Silver Bay has had,” a source with knowledge of the situation told Undercurrent at the time.
“Doing a deal with Dongwon gives them an outlet for their number twos. And I’m sure they could use some cash since they have invested a lot of money in plants the past few years.”
Silver Bay, which has ownership from fishermen representing 80% of the committed fishing effort in Alaska, has expanded to four plants in the Southeast, Prince William Sound and Naknek in Bristol Bay since its inception in 2007 at a single salmon processing facility in Sitka.
Silver Bay is eyeing sustained growth, it says on its website. Its reputation in the Alaska salmon industry is one of aggressive expansion of its fishing fleet and management team.
The company has hired staff away from major processor Trident Seafoods, including Dave Hambleton, former manager of Trident’s salmon operations, who joined several months ago as chief operating officer.
Dongwon has also launched canned salmon products in South Korea, where canned salmon demand is exploding, according to rival Silla, speaking in May 2014. The previous year, in November 2013, Dongwon had launched its own premium branded range of salmon products in South Korea.