Investing in the long-established Icelandic seafood group Iceland Seafood International has proven to be a smart move for British business executive Mark Holyoake. A decade ago, when the country was suffering its much publicized banking and economic crisis, Holyoake’s ISH investment vehicle was purchasing the entire share capital of Iceland Seafood International, one of the country’s most well-known businesses.
He worked with the group for almost a decade as the company’s largest shareholder, presiding over the group’s transformational growth which has seen profits multiply on the back of consistently improving financial performance.
Since the group went public in 2016, Holyoake has forged a unique shareholding base such that over 25% of the whole nation’s quota owners are now represented as shareholders in this company, including the joining of Utgerdarfelag Reykjavikur (formerly Brim Seafood), propelling the seafood juggernaut further into its ongoing growth. This impressive feat of unity allows for a collaborative effort between all companies involved in Iceland’s fishing trade, and is seen as an extremely positive strategic move for the industry at large.
After a strong few years of operations, Iceland Seafood International successfully acquired Solo Seafood in September 2018, further expanding the company’s stance in the highly competitive global seafood market. This forward thinking move allowed the company to parlay the advantages of operating a streamlined supply chain, working for the benefit of all parties with the largest quota owners throughout Iceland. Through investing in the company’s operations, multiple production factories, marketing and product management, ISI was able to become increasingly lucrative as a direct result of continued growth, internal investment and its expanding reputation as an industry powerhouse.
For Holyoake, this vertical integration, coupled with his own divergence of shares, remains a significant win and an example of how investors can work abroad. With a main market listing on the horizon for 2019, the future for ISI remains bright, in no small part due to Holyoake’s initial investment and ownership of the company together with the adoption of this strategic path.
Born in 1972, Holyoake studied at the University of Reading before entering real estate in the 1990s. In 2006, he founded Oakvest, which focuses on property management, acquisition and development within the UK’s highly competitive housing market as well as private equity transactions outside this sector.
The Ibiza-based business mogul recently announced he has stepped down from the board of ISI after nearly a decade of service. But the impact of his contributions is evident and illustrates how to harness the benefits of a cohesive operation where a strong and inclusive shareholder base can really drive a business forward. This win-win strategy has certainly paid dividends for all concerned.