Thai seafood exporter invests $575M in Red Lobster

In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 photo, female workers, wearing a yellow-white cosmetic paste known as thanka on their cheeks, sort shrimp at a seafood market in Mahachai, Thailand. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)
In this Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015 photo, female workers, wearing a yellow-white cosmetic paste known as thanka on their cheeks, sort shrimp at a seafood market in Mahachai, Thailand. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Red Lobster is getting a $575 million investment from a Thai seafood exporter linked by an Associated Press investigation to slave-peeled shrimp.

A joint statement by the companies Monday says Thai Union Group wants to build a direct-to-consumers channel by investing in Orlando-based Red Lobster, which has more than 700 locations in the United States and Canada. Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm based in San Francisco, remains Red Lobster’s majority owner.

Thai Union’s president promised changes after the AP found the seafood company was shipping shrimp peeled by enslaved migrant workers to Red Lobster and many other buyers.

Thiraphong Chansiri said Thai Union would spend millions of dollars to end its reliance on contractors responsible for much of the labor abuse, and process all its shrimp in-house.