Iceland Seafood to end UK production

Iceland Seafood International (ISI) is to close its Grimsby-based value added seafood business with the loss of around 90 jobs. The company said uncertainty following Brexit was partly to blame.

Although the company, which has extensive highly successful salmon operations in Ireland and Spain, the UK business has been struggling for some time. The company said it was eroding profitability and the board no longer felt justified in continuing with it.

An ISI statement said: “Iceland Seafood UK invested in operating facilities in Grimsby and merged its operations from Bradford and Grimsby into this location.

“The investment and decision of the merger was completed in March 2020, just before Covid-19 started, and the renovation and installation of the factory was very much affected by Covid and later Brexit along with difficulties in overall operations.

“Iceland Seafood has now decided that it plans to exit this market from a value-added perspective and has mandated MAR advisors to support the process. Although it has been concluded that the UK operation is not a strategic fit for Iceland Seafood anymore, the excellent facilities and strong management team in Grimsby can be a great addition to other companies in the sector.”

Chief executive Bjarni Ármannsson said: “Although it has been concluded that the UK operation is not a strategic fit for Iceland Seafood anymore, the excellent facilities and strong management team in Grimsby can be a great addition to other companies in the sector.”

There was better news, however, for ISI on the general financial front. It said that after a difficult first half year which was severally impacted by rapid and substantial price increases of various input factors, the profitability of Iceland Seafood rebounded in the third July to September quarter.

The group generated a normalised profit before tax of €2.3m (£2m) in the quarter and €0.5m (£0.43m) in the first nine months.

ISI said salmon prices had eased and stabilised in the period, which helped the results in Ireland and at Ahumados Dominguez in Spain. Prices of whitefish are historically very high but seem to have peaked in the third quarter.

Two years ago ISI completed the acquisition of the specialist Irish smoked salmon products company Carr & Sons in a deal worth almost £6m.

In parallel with the acquisition of Carr & Sons, it also acquired a 33% share in the fish processing plant Oceanpath in Ireland for around £8m.

Then in the summer of 2021 it acquired an 80% stake in the Spanish salmon processor Ahumados Dominguez.

 

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