Sealaska Buys Stake in Seattle Seafood Company

Southeast regional Native corporation Sealaska has announced the purchase of a minority stake in a Seattle-based seafood processor, marking its first transition into the seafood industry in nearly 30 years.

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JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Southeast regional Native corporation Sealaska has announced the purchase of a minority stake in a Seattle-based seafood processor, marking its first transition into the seafood industry in nearly 30 years.

Sealaska Chief Operating Officer Terry Downes said the purchase of Independent Packers Corporation announced Monday is part of Sealaska's shift into businesses familiar to its 22,000 shareholders.

"It straddles Southeast Alaska and the Pacific Northwest," Downes said. "We want to have our businesses be really relevant to the ownership."

Sealaska's previous work in the seafood industry dates back to the 1980s when it owned the Washington-based firms Seattle Seafoods and Seafood Packers Inc. through a subsidiary. The two companies were sold to Trident Seafoods.

Downes declined to provide details on how much Sealaska is investing in Independent Packers Corporation. IPC President Jeff Buske did not respond to requests for comment.

The announcement comes a week Sealaska released its annual report that showed a net income of $12 million in 2015, The Juneau Empire reported.

Sealaska said Independent Packers is a custom-processing company that works in the middle of the supply chain, primarily handling red and king salmon.

The purchase is part of a new business strategy Sealaska started in 2012 that focuses on three corporate groups: natural resources, natural foods and government services.

Last week, Sealaska CEO Anthony Mallott said the company would acquire two businesses in order to break even on its operations by 2017. Downes confirmed IPC is one of those businesses. Sealaska is expected to finalize its acquisition of an oceanography corporation by the end of the month, he said.

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