Nfld. & Labrador

Danish company poised to take majority ownership in Quin-Sea Fisheries

One of Newfoundland and Labrador's largest seafood processing companies is about to undergo a change in ownership, with Royal Greenland of Denmark poised to purchase a majority ownership in Quin-Sea Fisheries Limited.

Royal Greenland CEO expects 'great number' of benefits from transaction

Old Perlican has a rich fishing heritage, with a plant that's been operated by Quin-Sea for 25 years. (Town of Old Perlican)

One of Newfoundland and Labrador's largest seafood processing companies is about to undergo a change in ownership, with Royal Greenland of Denmark poised to buy a majority ownership in Quin-Sea Fisheries Limited.

Details of the purchase have not been disclosed, and the deal is contingent on the approval of the provincial government.

Quin-Sea spokesman Gabe Gregory says it is a positive development for the industry, since Royal Greenland is a very large company with access to an extensive marketing and sales network in Europe and Asia.

"They're much more integrated into the marketing and selling of seafood than any of the companies in Newfoundland," said Gregory, who helped negotiate the deal on behalf of Quin-Sea.

"So I think this is a very positive thing from a market and selling point of view, and with a stable company that has an excellent track record."

Rooted in Old Perlican

Quin-Sea is a well-known name in the seafood industry, with a history that dates back a quarter-century, annual processing totals of 11,000 metric tonnes, and revenues in excess of $60 million.

Quin-Sea Fisheries Limited is a major producer of snow crab in Newfoundland and Labrador. (CBC/file image)

The company specializes mostly in shellfish such as crab and shrimp, and smaller volumes of whelk, sea cucumber, capelin and cod.

Quin-Sea has its roots in Old Perlican, Trinity Bay, where it operates a large crab and shrimp plant, employing 400-plus employees during the fishing season.

It also has processing facilities in Cupids, Cape Broyle, Long Cove and Conche.

In all, the company employs some 700 seasonal workers, and is owned and managed by Fred Hopkins and Derrick Philpott.

Gregory said they will continue to run the company for the next several years.

"All the people associated with the business and their suppliers, there's really no plan for any change in the operation or for any of the plants or communities in which they operate," he said.

The mayor of Old Perlican, Bruce Button, said the plant is the economic backbone of the community, and he's hopeful that will continue under new ownership.

"They must see something there for the future. Nobody spends that type of money, you wouldn't believe, unless they see something positive in the future," said Button.

Royal Greenland a world leader

Royal Greenland is one of the world's largest producers of coldwater shrimp, Greenland halibut and lumpfish roe.

In a news release, CEO Mikael Thinghuus described the two companies as an "excellent match," with a "profound respect for the local communities in which our suppliers and employees live and work."

The Danish company is a world leader in processing seafood. (Royal Greenland)

Thinghuus said he sees a "great number of benefits" from the deal.

"While on the one hand, the products from Quin-Sea will get access to the vast international sales organization of Royal Greenland, we on the other hand, will benefit both from access to the products from Quin-Sea and from Quin-Sea's knowledge of species, which are currently not harvested in Greenland, namely whelk and sea cucumber," he said.

While the company may soon be foreign-owned, an official with the provincial government said it would be bound by minimum processing requirements, which help protect local jobs.

"If I was an employee I'd view this as really no change for me," Gregory explained. "It's going to be business as usual. Their employment is as secure now as it was any time in the past, as I see it."

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