Monday, September 21, 2009

Trident empire expanding to Adak?

Deckboss probed a little deeper today into documents filed thus far in the Adak Fisheries bankruptcy case and came across an interesting e-mail from company lawyer Cabot Christianson.

The Sept. 12 message to lawyers for creditor Independence Bank says in part that Adak Fisheries "does not intend to operate the processing plant at Adak; instead, Debtor intends to negotiate a sale of the equipment at Adak to Trident Seafoods, or some other bidder, and then either convert to a Chapter 7 or file a liquidating plan of reorganization."

The e-mail adds: "Regardless of whether the sale is successful, there are insurance claims to collect and cod liver oil, and other inventory, to sell."

Certainly, it wouldn't be unheard of for Seattle-based seafood giant Trident Seafoods Corp. to go shopping in bankruptcy court. It did so this spring, acquiring Wrangell Seafoods.

Trident is now operating the Wrangell plant, but it might not have any interest in actually running a plant on faraway Adak Island, some 350 miles west of Dutch Harbor. Note that Christianson's e-mail says only that Adak Fisheries might sell equipment to Trident, not the whole operation.

Independence Bank, which says it has $6.7 million in outstanding loans to Adak Fisheries and a priority claim to the company's assets, casts doubt on "a purported offer to purchase" from Trident.

"No such offer has ever been provided to either the Court, or creditors or other interested parties," say papers Independence filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Anchorage.

The bank is asking the judge to approve a sale to a company identified as Adak Seafood LLC.

I was unable to discover just who is behind Adak Seafood. The state's corporation database lists no active company by that name, and I haven't seen any court documents revealing its owners or officers.

A fine little mystery!

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