Iceland trader buys top Irish firm

ICELAND Seafood International (ISI) has bought Oceanpath, Ireland’s leading fresh fish company.

The acquisition, says ISI, marks a significant step in its strategy of delivering strong organic growth, combined with strategic acquisitions of first rate seafood companies into the group.

The deal involves ISI agreeing to buy 67 per cent of Oceanpath, with management retaining a 33 per cent stake.

ISI is a major provider of North Atlantic seafood and one of the largest processors of fish of all descriptions from Iceland. It is also a key processor in Scotland and Spain.

Oceanpath is the largest fresh fish company in Ireland, owning the iconic Dunn’s of Dublin specialist salmon brand, which has been operating since 1822 and is the country’s oldest seafood business.

It offers fresh and smoked seafood (both farmed and wild caught) to retail customers and wholesalers, and operates two factories.

A statement said: ‘Iceland Seafood International hf (ISI) and Oceanpath Seafood Limited (OSL) have come to an agreement on ISI’s proposed acquisition of the company, with purchase of 67 per cent of the outstanding shares in Oceanpath Limited Group (Oceanpath).’

ISI said that under the current leadership the Irish company has shown excellent growth and profitability in recent years.

Expectations for revenues in the current financial year are circa €33-35 million, generating normalised profit before tax of €1.8-€2.2 million, up from €30.9 million revenue and €1.4 million profit before tax achieved in the previous year.

Oceanpath is currently owned by the Ecock family. Alan Ecock is the largest shareholder and will continue as managing director of the business, while his sons, Ken and Trevor, will continue to be employed as commercial and production directors respectively.

Helgi Anton Eiríksson, CEO of ISI, said: ‘The acquisition of Oceanpath continues ISI’s strategy of growing its value added activities in Europe.

‘The company’s experienced management and market leading position in Ireland within the fresh fish and smoked seafood market provides for an excellent platform for future growth.

‘The acquisition brings the opportunity of expanding the business at a domestic and international level via the introduction of new products into ISI Group sales channels, taking advantage of ISI’s strong commercial setup in Europe, North America and Asia.

‘At the same time, Oceanpath has a unique platform to expand its product range in the local market via accessing ISI’s strong manufacturing and group sourcing network.’

Alan Ecock added: ‘It is very exciting for us at Oceanpath to partner up with Iceland Seafood International.

‘The group’s vast experience in the international seafood marketplace affords us the opportunity to expand our product range whilst maintaining the highest standards of service to our customers.

‘The Irish seafood marketplace has seen positive growth in the last few years.  Our aim is to be at the forefront of this trend in years to come and to continue to serve our market through innovation, strong sourcing and focus on high quality products for our customers.’

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