170 Year History
With its roots in Norway, FMC's Epax has been manufacturing and developing marine-based omega-3 fatty acids for more than 170 years. As initially Norwegian–based, Epax has long been dependent on the sea and, as a result, there is an ingrained respect for the life it holds and the many livelihoods its waters provide. The history being closely tied to the sea has created an unmatched passion for all things marine for the Epax brand.
For Epax, the world-class reputation stems from a long history in omega-3 research, development and production. There are two main paths and it all began in 1838 in Bergen, Norway with the JC Martens Company. JC Martens specialized in refining cod liver oil products. Later, JC Martens merged with Jahres Fabrikker and founded Pronova Biocare in 1991, of which Epax then represented the business-to-business arm.
The present FMC omega-3 processing operation in Ålesund has its roots back to three former fish oil producers and exporters in that area; Peder Devold (1872), Brødr. Aarsæther (1977) and Oluf Holm (1887). These companies were merged into the Brødr Aarsæther Company in 1971. In 1989 this company was acquired by the cod liver oil producer Lipro AS. Pronova Biocare then merged into one with Lipro in 1998. In 2005, Epax demerged from Pronova and became independent Epax AS.
Each merger between the various companies over time brought new technologies, new distillation processes and expertise with marine products. Lipro, JC Martens and Jahre were among the first to use molecular distillation for fatty acid separation and concentration of marine oils. This long history combined with several more recent major investments in processing, capacity and quality systems have contributed to the position of Epax as a leading brand and supplier of high-quality, well-documented EPA/DHA omega-3 fatty concentrates for the global market.
In 2007, acquired ownership of Epax by the leading international company in the pelagic fishing, fishmeal and fish oil industry, Austevoll Seafood ASA, made Epax the only significant omega-3 supplier to be fully integrated from fishing boat to finished product. This vertical integration helped to heighten awareness of the superior product safety, quality and traceability story of Epax products.
Norwegian biotech company Aker Biomarine and investment group Lindsay Goldberg acquired Epax in 2010. This chapter provided the new Epax AS group with a wider operational area that would include omega-3 based pharmaceutical ingredients, new technologies and expanded capacity.
The latest evolution in the story is the acquisition of Epax by US-based FMC Corporation July 2013. The acquisition of Epax was an important step and marks FMC’s entry into the fast-growing nutraceuticals market. Epax is now considered a brand in the FMC Health and Nutrition portfolio. FMC is an ambitious specialty chemical company with a long-term view on the industry and is sharing the same high-quality values as Epax. This will bring Epax resources and dedication to further expansion and growth. With a strategic partnership in place that guarantees a long-term supply source, the ongoing commitment to quality control from sea to finished ingredient for maximum product safety and traceability remains unchanged.