Friday, August 6, 2010

'I want to thank the employees'

Deckboss on Wednesday linked to a press release about Icicle Seafoods Inc. selling the assets of its Bellingham, Wash., surimi business to Trident Seafoods Corp.

Funny, though, how press releases sometimes don't give us the full story.

Turns out that on Aug. 2, the very same day the release came out, the Washington State Employment Security Department received word from Icicle that, well, 71 workers would be permanently laid off in Bellingham beginning Oct. 18. The notice specifies "closure" as the reason for the layoff.

Dennis Guhlke, Icicle's chief executive, was quoted in the Trident-issued press release as saying: "I want to thank the employees of the Bellingham plant, whose contributions over the years are very much appreciated."

But the release didn't mention any worker layoff or closure of the plant, which Icicle's website says has been making imitation crabmeat and other surimi-based goods since 1986.

Seattle-based Icicle, born 45 years ago in the quintessential Alaska fishing town of Petersburg, today is a chip in a San Francisco private equity firm's "portfolio." The firm, Paine & Partners, holds all sorts of investments, from vegetable seeds to telecom to oil industry services to French perfume.

Trident's existing surimi operations include its Louis Kemp plant in Minnesota.

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