Cluny Fish buys Shetland Smokehouse –

Cluny Fish buys Shetland Smokehouse Published:  28 July, 2006

A BUCKIE based fish smoker has bought Shetland Smokehouse two weeks after it went into voluntary liquidation.

Cluny Fish has moved quickly in a bid to retain the Smokehouse’s customers, which are mainly based in Europe, Japan, America and the UK.

The company has plans to re-start and increase production at the Skeld factory, and hopes are high that most of the local workforce will get the jobs back they lost on 10 July.

No one from Cluny Fish was available for comment today as the company’s managing director was in France this week to reassure customers that the supply from the Smokehouse was about to resume.

Shetland Islands Council head of economic development, Willie Shannon said he was encouraged by the attitude of Cluny Fish, which was keen to acquire the Shetland Smokehouse brand name.

“This is a step in the right direction. Cluny Fish moved very quickly, they made an offer to the liquidator and that was accepted. They are keen to avoid losing the customer base of Shetland Smokehouse. We also expect the output from the Smokehouse to increase,” he said.

Cluny Fish is now to enter into negotiations with the council as well as Shetland Enterprise with the view to secure a funding package to help finance the company’s business plan for Skeld.

Among the options available are a preferential lease deal of the factory building which is owned by the council, and business start up funding from Shetland Enterprise.

Pelagic processor Shetland Catch, which had owned the Shetland Smokehouse since January 2004, applied for voluntary liquidation earlier this month blaming the high price of salmon for its demise.

Their original plans to invest into the Smokehouse with a view to expand production and also to diversify into secondary processing of herring and mackerel never materialised.

As the Smokehouse went into liquidation, provisional liquidator Mike Reid of Aberdeen law firm Meston Reid & Co recorded strong interest from other fish processing companies to take over the business.

Council vice convener and local member for the area Florence Grains, said: “I am very pleased that the company had moved quickly and would retain employment in the West Mainland which is recognised as a fragile area”.

Fish smoker and curer Cluny Fish has over 40 years of experience in the business. The company will take on the Shetland Smokehouse brand and recipes.

A council statement issued yesterday added that it was hoped that Cluny Fish would be able to act as ambassadors for the high quality Shetland produce which has been prepared in the Smokehouse in the past.

Shetland Smokehouse was founded by husband and wife team Dave and Debbie Hammond in the early eighties, and quickly become a household name for high quality smoked salmon.