THE owners of the big Canadian seafood company Ocean Choice International (OCI) say the business is not for sale.
There had been media reports that Canadian rivals Clearwater Seafoods had been eyeing the business as a possible takeover target but the main OCI shareholders, Martin and Blaine Sullivan, have responded with a firm statement saying the partnership has never been for sale and is not for sale now.
Martin Sullivan said in a statement: ‘OCI has successful operations with positive financial results and we do not anticipate any problems refinancing OCI’s debt facilities. It is business as usual at OCI.
‘We intend to maintain our position as a leader in the fishing industry and, to that end, we will continue to deliver the highest quality products to our customers around the globe.’
Ocean Choice International is one of Canada’s leading vertically integrated seafood harvesting, processing, and marketing companies, with operations throughout Atlantic Canada and sales and marketing offices around the world.
As Canada’s largest wild fish quota holder, OCI says it is a leader in fishing and processing technology and market development.
Three months ago Ocean Choice International complained about what it saw as an unhealthy dominance in certain types of seafood by Clearwater.
The OCI statement said: ‘Currently, Clearwater Seafoods has a monopoly in this fishery and we do not believe that is a healthy situation for constructive development of the surf clam resource and the associated economic opportunity for Atlantic Canadians.
‘It is well understood by industry participants that the current monopoly position has led to only about half the current quota being harvested for more than the past 25 years, and there has been a significant loss in economic benefits to the industry.’