Orca, Odyssey merger part of Sealaska plan to create formidable seafood company

Consolidation continues to sweep through the seafood industry. The latest evidence is Monday’s announcement of the merger of Orca Bay Seafoods and Odyssey Foods, two Seattle-area seafood processors that are expected to provide the building blocks for a much larger entity.

“We’re trying to build a local company with scale that can continue to attract talent and get more value from Alaska seafood,” Terry Downes, chief operating officer of Sealaska Corporation, told IntraFish.

Orca Bay, Odyssey merging

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Sealaska, which acquired a majority interest in Odyssey earlier this year, and Tokusui Corporation of America, owners of Orca Bay, merged Orca Bay and Odyssey in an effort to gain greater efficiencies and economies of scale and enhance the product mix available to customers, he said.

The new entity, for which a name has not yet been announced, will combine the people and plants of Odyssey and Orca, in addition to Seattle processor Independent Packers Corporation (IPC), in which Sealaska owns a stake.

At the time of its acquisition of Odyssey, Downes laid out his company's plans to build a new robust seafood company.

“The Odyssey deal is a critical step in the development of our seafood strategy,” he said at the time. “It provides us with a market-driven organization and a well-qualified and dynamic sales team. We intend to continue to build our seafood business through organic growth, and acquisition."

Odyssey does private-label packing through its Northwest Seafood Processors (NSP) division's 65,000-square-foot facility in Seattle, where it produces a wide range of seafood products.

Downes said Orca Bay, Odyssey and IPC each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but combined the companies offer a formidable force in seafood processing.

“The value is in the people,” said Downes. "We’re not looking for a reduction in executives, we want them all working together with a common vision."

At the moment, there are no plans to merge brands or change the way Odyssey and Orca Bay go to market with their products, he said.

While much of the synergy will initially come on the processing side of the business, Orca Bay provides a branded retail product line through which products can be marketed.

Orca Bay’s plans to build a new 314,424 square-foot warehousing, distribution and processing center were stymied last fall when the project met with opposition from area residents, environmental groups and government officials. The plans were ultimately scrapped.

Using available processing capacity at IPC and NSP will alleviate the space constraints now affecting Orca Bay, Downes said.

“We’re just excited to have these people coming together to solve problems,” he said.

Click on the video below and advance to the 27:38 point to listen to Downes' seafood strategy.

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