The North American seafood processor confirmed it is currently in exclusive negotiations with the Icelandic company for its Asian and US assets, which have been up for sale since the summer.
High Liner said it had been forced to make the announcement following media leaks that it was in discussions to ink a deal.
“The terms and conditions of the transaction are still being discussed and are subject to final Board approvals. High Liner is also still in the process of completing its due diligence review. As such, there can be no assurance that a final agreement will be reached,” said a statement from the company.
An Icelandic Group spokesman told FoodProductionDaily.com the sale of the US and Asia divisions was part of its over-arching strategy by its Enterprise Investment Fund to maintain the company’s financial health and “secure the interests of the Icelandic fishing industry”.
As part of this programme the firm said it had hired BofA Merril Lynch in March to roll out a scheme to review “strategic alternatives”.
“The assets in the US and China are mainly production plants which are well fit for an open sale procedure,“ said the spokesman. "The potential sale will further strengthen Icelandic Group´s financial position and operational focus."
The company added that once the divestment was complete it would be "very well positioned to take advantages of the exciting opportunities that lie in the international seafood industry”.
The programme earlier included the sell-off of Icelandic‘s plants in France and Germany to a consortium of investors, led by Pacific Andes in September 2011.
The spokesman said: "The sale of the French and German platform was an important strategic step for Icelandic Group towards sharpening its operational focus. This transaction was a key milestone for the Company, lowering debts and strengthening existing operations."