Nova Scotia

Dartmouth's Ocean Nutrition sold for $540M

A Nova Scotia fish oil company has been sold for $540 million.

Fish-oil company says jobs will stay in N.S.

John Risley said selling Ocean Nutrition was a very stressful affair.

A Nova Scotia fish oil company has been sold for $540 million.

Ocean Nutrition, which is based in Dartmouth, is a global leader in the production of Omega 3 health products and dietary supplements made from fish oil.

On Friday, it announced the Dutch multi-national company DSM is buying it. DSM will incorporate Ocean Nutrition into its global food business.

Company founder John Risley said orchestrating such a major deal was difficult. "This was a very traumatic experience for me," he said with a laugh. "I've learned I don't ever want to sell another company."

$190M in annual sales

Risley is CEO of Clearwater Seafoods, which owns 60 per cent of Ocean Nutrition. Ocean Nutrition was started from scratch with university-led research. It has annual sales of $190 million and several facilities in Nova Scotia and around the world.    

"ONC is now in 21 million food servings a day around the world. That sounds like a pretty big deal, doesn't it?" he said with a smile.

Risley said DSM  was one of several multi-nationals vying to buy Ocean Nutrition. The purchase includes patents and technology developed in Dartmouth

DSM says the production plants, labs and jobs will remain in Nova Scotia.

Risley predicts more growth for the company in the province.  

"They've made it clear to us this is great model; they don't want to screw it up. They love the people here. We've got  400 employees here in Nova Scotia," he said. "They're not going to change that."

Risley said he was now going to explore other ocean-related opportunities for commercial development.