Young’s Seafood up for sale


YOUNG’S, Britain’s largest seafood company, has formally announced that the business is to be put up for sale.
And it is almost certain to attract widespread interest from at home and abroad.
The news came in a statement yesterday from the parent company, Lion capital, which is owned by the private equity firm HPS Investment Partners (UK), Bain Capital Credit and Lion Capital.
A Young’s spokesman said: ‘We have sent out notification that we intend to start a structured and open bidding process with all interested parties for the sale of the Young’s Seafood group.
‘Young’s Seafood is the UK’s leading seafood supplier, with a 200-year heritage and a turnover of over £500 million. We aim to inspire people to love fish now and for generations to come.’
The hope is that a sale can be completed by the early autumn, but the announcement, which was first flagged up just before Christmas, is causing more than a little concern at its main base of Grimsby, where it is the largest private employer with a workforce of at least 1,500 people.
Workers in the town look at what happened to Findus several years ago when the company pulled out of the town, and to Birds Eye which moved fish finger production to Germany.
Georg Krawiec, chairman of Seafood Grimsby and Humber, told Fish Update: ‘Whoever owns Young’s recognises that Grimsby is the centre of the seafood processing industry in Europe and continued support and investment in this area will be beneficial for any company who has the good fortune  to be involved our great cluster.’
Of course, Young’s has been involved in controversy, with its recent decision to close the Pinneys operation at Annan in the south of Scotland.
But the company has been performing exceptionally well by opening new markets in the United States and winning a major Marks & Spencer coated fish contract. It is also planning to expand into Europe and possibly China.
So far the only company reported to have shown interest is the Japanese Mitsubishi Corporation, better known as a car maker, but which has a food division which includes the canned fish Princes label, and also owns the giant Norwegian salmon farmer Cermaq.
The boutique investment house Stamford Partners has been hired to handle the sale process.


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