Paine & Partners exits seafood company

Icicle Seafoods will be broken up in the sale to an Indonesian seafood and canning business and a Russian fishing company.

Food and agribusiness private equity firm Paine & Partners is selling portfolio company Icicle Holdings, a North American seafood company, in a deal that will split the company into two.

Icicle’s core business is the primary processing of seafood including wild salmon, pollock, halibut, cod, sablefish and herring in most major fisheries throughout Alaska, with both on-shore and floating processing facilities. Icicle also owns the largest United States owned-and-operated salmon farming company, according to a press release.

Russian fishing company Dominion Catchers with acquire Icicle’s harvesting and processing vessels and as well as its associated fishing rights, while Indonesian food and canning business Convergence will buy the company’s land-based wild seafood processing and farmed salmon activities. The two buyers have entered into an agreement to continue operating Icicle as a single, diversified operation, according to a press release.

Icicle Holdings was acquired by Paine & Partners Capital Fund III, which closed $1.2 billion in 2007 and reached full deployment last year, in 2006 as one of the fund’s first investments. Fund III is also invested in ScanBio, a Norwegian producer of fish protein concentrate, fish meal and fish oil.

“With Paine & Partners’ support, we grew our business, enhanced our operations and improved our ability to serve our diverse customer mix,” said Chris Ruettgers, chief executive of Icicle in a statement.

Paine & Partners would not disclose the size of the deal or its return on investment in Icicle. The deal is expected to close in August.

The PE firm’s latest fund, the $893 million Paine & Partners Fund IV, recently made its first investment into an Eastern European agricultural producer, Spearhead International.