Iceland Seafood reaches agreement to sell UK business

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Iceland Seafood International has agreed to sell its UK business to Espersen A/S
Iceland Seafood International has agreed to sell its UK business to Espersen A/S

Related tags Investment Finance

Fish processor Iceland Seafood International (ISI) has agreed to sell its UK business to Danish value-added manufacturer Espersen A/S for an undisclosed sum.

Espersen has acquired 100% of the share capital of Iceland Seafood UK (IS UK), with the transaction expected to complete this month (September). At completion, it will own 100% of IS UK.

ISI announced plans to exit the UK in late 2022, reporting challenges in the region that had impacted its financial results. It had dropped plans to sell the business in February this year,​ after two separate letters of intent to sell the business fell through. However, the seafood processor said it was still open to further consolidation of the business.  

Plant and property lease agreement

Property, equipment and machinery at IS UK will be sold to Iceland Seafood Barraclough – a 100% owned subsidiary of ISI – where it will be leased back to IS UK upon completion of the sale. Espersen will have the opportunity to purchase this at the end of the leasing agreement.

Commenting on the sale, ISI chief executive Bjarni Ármannsson said: “After four challenging years in the UK, we have decided to divest the IS UK business with a substantial loss. We are confident that this is the right decision for Iceland Seafood as a business.

“This investment has been a great cost for the company and its shareholders. It’s been a very tough market during these years, and we have tried with immense effort to turn this around without success. 

Strong position in value-added seafood

“I’m confident that the interests of our employees and customers are well served within Espersen AS and I wish Espersen all the best in this market. And I believe they can use the assets better than we have been able due to their strong position in the UK value-added seafood market.”

An impairment of fixed assets of €8.3m is expected from the sale, which will be included in ISI’s first half group results. The total impact of discontinued operations in the period were €13.9m.  Net loss of the Group in 1H 2023 of €15.3m were €12.4m down on 1H 2022.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire-based Acorn Brewery has been sold to Sonas Capital,​a business acquisition and development specialist.

Related topics Meat, poultry & seafood Operations

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