Tri Marine Sells Investment in Chicken of the Sea

Popular Brand Now Wholly Owned by Thai Union


TriMarine International and Edmund Gann announced today that they have agreed to sell their 50% interest in Chicken of the Sea International to Thai Union International, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Thai Union Frozen Product PLC. Gann Family Trust is also selling its 25% interest in Chicken of the Sea to Thai Union. After completing the acquisition, Thai Union will own 100% of Chicken of the Sea.

"We are thankful to TriMarine and Mr. Edmund Gann for the wonderful and gratifying experience we have enjoyed since becoming partners with them in Chicken of the Seaíí said Thiraphong Chansiri, President of Thai Union. ``This is an exciting development in the growth of Thai Union. Chicken of the Sea is a very valuable consumer brand and we look forward to its continued success."

Thai Union, TriMarine and Gann have been partners in the canned tuna business since 1996. TriMarine and Gann had bought the assets of Pan Pacific Fisheries, a tuna cannery in the port of Los Angeles, from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Thai Union joined TriMarine and Gann in that investment and then in 1997 the group purchased the assets of Van Camp Seafood including the popular Chicken of the Sea brand also out of bankruptcy proceedings. Under the ownership and new strategic direction of Thai Union, Gann and TriMarine, Chicken of the Sea has prospered in the market. Chicken of the Sea presently has a 17.5% share of the US canned tuna market.

"We are very happy for Thai Union. You can't ask for better partners. We are grateful for the success of Chicken of the Sea. This divestiture means that Tri Marine can return to its traditional role as strategic supplier of raw material to the global tuna industry," said Renato Curto President of TriMarine International. TriMarine led the acquisition of Chicken of the Sea by Gann and Thai Union at a time when the famous brand was in deep financial difficulty. "There was a need for someone from industry to step forward and help the company get back on its feet. If we hadn't done so, the former owners, who didn't understand the tuna business, might have liquidated the company. Thereís tremendous value in that brand. We look forward to their continued success,"added Mr. Curto.