Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dividing the assets

Deckboss has received reliable information about the pending split of Seattle-based American Seafoods and Anchorage-based Coastal Villages Region Fund.

The word is that Coastal, which owns 46 percent of American, will exit the business and take with it the following:

• The Northern Hawk, a 341-foot pollock factory trawler. The vessel is one of American's eight powerful factory ships.

• American subsidiary Pacific Longline Co., with its three big cod freezer longliners: the Deep Pacific, the Lilli Ann and the North Cape.

• A significant chunk of Bering Sea pollock quota.

We still don't have the official press release on this breakup, and we might not for some time.

I've heard for years that relations between the top brass at American and Coastal haven't been great.

For American, which is carrying a lot of debt, the split might be simply a business necessity, especially as the Bering Sea pollock stocks have declined sharply in recent years.

Coastal is one of six Alaska companies operating under the federal Community Development Quota program.

For Coastal, and for the CDQ program in general, this deal appears huge.

CDQ companies long have held partial ownership in some of the North Pacific's top fishing ships. But to own the likes of the Northern Hawk outright would be a first to my knowledge.

I spoke with a couple of Coastal managers the other day, operations director Trevor McCabe and investments director Rich Monroe.

They weren't at liberty to talk about any deal, and I didn't really push them. I figure these things happen when they happen.


Anonymous said...

I guess it's good that CVRF is walking away from this mess. But with only one of the pollock boats? I guess we'll have to wait and see how much quota they come away with...but ASC has been over-mortgaged for a long it's going to get worse.

Pollock Provides, eh?

Anonymous said...

It is not a matter of if, but when, the collapse of the pollock stocks spell the end of the CDQ bingo game. It's a shame that all the $$$, mostly sent down the rabbit hole, did not benefit the intended recipients. The burden of maintaining projects that have no hope of ever being financially viable will hobble many CDQ's for some time. One thing, though, will be certain: the leadership will be the last ones hanging on the teat.